Arts & Crafts Fair organizers anticipate a “good fair”

With a full slate of vendors in tow, plus an encouraging weather forecast so far, organizers of the 46th Hills?boro Arts & Crafts Fair are anticipating another successful event this Saturday.

?It will be a good fair,? Penni Schroeder, fair director, said last week.

She and the organizing team are expecting 287 vendors representing 14 states, including one from as far away as Arizona. More than half of the vendors come from Kansas, including seven from Hillsboro and five from Marion.

Ninety of those vendors will be first-timers. That was by design, according to Schroeder.

?We did try to eliminate some of the jewelry vendors because there was so much jewelry,? Schroeder said. ?So that opened it up for more first-timers.?

She said all the selling spaces on the street are spoken for as of last week.

?It?s filled up again,? Schroeder said. ?We wondered about when we took a chance eliminating some of the jewelry vendors, knowing that left quite a few spaces open.

?I just got one call from Wichita,? she added. ?They?re going to drive down here and bring an application because we have a couple of sidewalk spaces. The streets are full. We have a couple of sidewalk spaces just because we don?t have as many food vendors.?

What does Schroeder foresee as being popular items this year?

?I think this year again, it?s the repurposed things,? she said. ?There?s one person who uses pallets that businesses stack things on to make furniture. I thought that was kinda neat.

?I don?t know if we?ve had a glass blower here before, and I don?t know if he?s actually going to blow the glass, but we?ll have some quality merchandise there.?

Schroeder said rustic items remain a popular purchase for many shoppers.

?Someone is taking milk crates and making them into little benches or storage places,? she cited as an example. ?I went through the list, and there?s lots of variety.

Recruiting the small army of volunteers needed each year to help with parking, marking the streets and sidewalks and a host of other tasks, has been slightly more challenging this year because of Hillsboro High?s home football Friday night.

?We?re scrambling a little bit to get street markers,? she said. ?If anybody wants to help, they need to call me and I?ll fill them in on the details.

?It will get done,? Schroeder was quick to add. ?We always have lots of volunteers?a lot of repeats.?

With good weather, the fair in recent years continues to attract between 40,000 and 50,000 people, according to law enforcement estimates.

The fair opens at 9 a.m. and will close at 4 p.m. in downtown Hillsboro.

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