By Alex Duncan
The War Eagle Craft Fair began in 1954 as a way for crafters in the Ozark region to show off their work. It still goes on today for the same reason. But there are more craft makers today than there were when they first started. They now have 205 vendor selling and showing off their products. It goes on from October 15-18. The fair is located at the War Eagle Mill on War Eagle Road in Hindsville, Arkansas. The craft fair had many sponsors for this year. Some of their top sponsors were Lewis and Clark Outfitters, PepsiCo Foodservice, and Cabela’s.
People come from all over just to come to this craft fair. They have everything from art to jewelry to furniture and more. Almost all of the venders there made handmade items to sell at their booth. I had a chance to interview a couple of them and see what they do for the craft fair. Betty Robinson, runs the booth Lucy’s, makes pillows, Christmas stocking, and other Christmas decorations. She says that every year to prepare for the craft fair she chooses, buys, cuts, and sews everything that she needs to. She was even making crafts at the fair. She had been crafting for 31 years and a vendor for War Eagle for 30 years. I asked her what her favorite part is about the craft fair and she said “Meeting the people”(Betty Robinson). She had some advice for the new comers of the fair, “Greet your people and show them your product”(Betty Robinson).
Another vendor I interviewed was Vicki Hardcastle. She prepares for the fair with lots of hard work. She has been crafting since she was 18 years old. She has been a regular vendor for the fair for 22 years. She sold many different items. I asked her if she had always sold these items and she said “No. I started out just making santas and pins, then moved to felt projects”(Vicki Hardcastle). Vicki says that her favorite part was trading with the other crafters and the good food. I also asked her if she had any advice for the newcomers and she said “Keep it handmade(Vicki Hardcastle) I thought this was so true because when you see that someone has handmade something, it just makes it more interesting to look at rather than something from a store.
If you have never been and you think it would be chaotic with thousands of people in one area, but it isn’t that bad. Their system is sort of like a highway. Each side is going in a different way. They also split the fair up into two sections. The first section is all of the vendors in their own tents and if you crossed the bridge there were multiple vendors under one large tent and there were three tents. They also had a separate section for eating and resting. They also have a live band playing right next to the mill.
One of the hardest things they had to do is crowd control, but it was very organized. They had one person taking the fee for you to park, another guiding you where to park, and another leading groups of people over the bridge or a single line of cars over the bridge. They also had many different food trucks for you to chose from and eat at. Like I said before, they had a certain direction for each side of the lanes.
They impact the community because people from all over the country to go to this fair. It gives the community an attraction for everyone to see. It also impacts us because we have to deal with all of the traffic from everyone being here. We also have to prepare in advance for the craft fair. Vendors have to make crafts, the operator have to set up everything and get someone to play live music. The craft fair is a huge part of this community and the people in this community.
As you can see, War Eagle Craft Fair is a great place to spend time with your friends and family and see some amazing handmade crafts. Everyone there is really nice and helpful. There are tons of cool things there and the scenery is beautiful. If you have never been, than you should go. War Eagle Craft Fair is the place to be.