40 years of fairs in review…

1969

On April 10, 1969, Marguerite Pankratz invited seven young Hillsboro women to meet at her home for coffee. She wanted to talk about her experience at the War Eagle Arts & Crafts Fair in Arkansas and the shows she had attended in California. She enthusiastically ?planted the seed? for Hillsboro to develop a fair of its own. At a second meeting, held May 1 at the Tabor College cafeteria, the group decided to hold the first fair on Saturday, Sept. 17, along the sidewalks of the downtown business district. Marguerite was chosen as the fair coordinator.

Entry was free, and Baker Bros. Printing donated the publicity brochures. In case of bad weather the fair would be moved inside the Kansas Wholesale Warehouse, the city building and other available business places. Local artists Emma Flaming, Marlys Penner and Ethel Abrahams exhibited their work and enlisted others to be in the fair. Fifty exhibitors participated.

The committee set up an information booth to help exhibitors find their assigned spaces on Main Street sidewalks and to distribute sales tax charts. A coffee house was established on Main in the J.F. Klassen building (now Prudent Travel); six organizations sold baked goods and members of the Arts & Crafts committee sold coffee. Profit from the coffee was the only revenue that year; the women had to pay postage and other minor expenses. Exhibitors? sales totaled $1,360.

Carol Breese, Carol Wiebe and Kay Rundstrom of the Publicity Committee promoted the fair on ?The Joyce Livingston Show? broadcast by KTVH (now KWCH), the CBS affiliate in Wichita.

Following the successful event, Marguerite Pankratz expressed hope that a permanent organization would emerge. A month later, on Oct. 14, interested people met at the city building to form a permanent organization.

 

 

1970

Through the year the new association organized a variety of cultural events, including several community-wide art shows and events. The highlight of the year, of course, was the second annual Arts & Crafts Fair. To promote the event, scheduled for Sept. 19, Carol Breese appeared on ?The Joyce Livingston Show.? More than 100 exhibitors participated and sales topped $2,000. The fair ran from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. along the sidewalks of Main Street and on East and West Grand. The crowd was estimated at 4,000 to 5,000. In addition to the exhibitors, special entertainment was provided.

 

1971

The third Arts & Crafts Fair was Sept. 25 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Entry was free and exhibitors? sales totaled $2,500. It rained all day the day before the fair, but cleared on Saturday for a fine day. In case of rain, the fair would have been moved to the 4-H building on the fairgrounds.

Joyce Livingston once again let us promote the fair on her Channel 12 talk show. Publicity brochures came in three colors: bright orange, yellow and purple. Mary Buehler, USD 410 instructor, demonstrated pottery-making at the fair. The Magnificent Mystics also provided entertainment.

In their Goertz Furniture Store, Norton and Betty Goertz opened Gallery G, which featured their art and crafts. Esther L. Vogt had an autograph party for her book. We received our first entry from California. The First Mennonite Church served a full Dutch meal at noon. A news crew from Channel 12 (KTVH) covered the fair and broadcast a story on the 6 o?clock news.

 

 

1972

The fourth Arts & Crafts Fair was Sept. 23. High school students displayed macrame and clay pots at the fair. Marguerite Pankratz and Jerry Williams, local art teacher, appeared on ?The Joyce Livingston Show? to promote the fair. Exhibitors did not pay an entry fee.

 

1973

The fifth fair was Sept. 22 with 149 exhibitors. Entry was free and sales totaled $5,000.

 

 

1974

The sixth annual fair was Sept. 21 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Exhibitors displayed their wares along the sidewalks of the business district. On Sept. 13, members of the association once again promoted the fair on the ?Joyce Livingston Show.? The fair drew 120 applicants; again, no entry fee was charged. Sen. Bob Dole and Congressman Garner Shriver attended the event. The women of First Mennonite Church prepared a full ethnic noon meal. Area clowns performed. An information booth, complete with a hand-painted canvas skirt around the outside, was located in front of the Insurance Center at 107 S. Main.

1974

was designated the Kansas Wheat Centennial Year celebration. Doris Johnson, well-known wheatcraft artist, presented a workshop for the association on May 24. On Aug. 16, U.S. Postmaster General E.T. Klassen, a Hillsboro native, was in Hillsboro to issue a U.S. postal stamp. The stamp, which featured Kansas Hard Winter Wheat, was one of four in the Rural America Series. The Arts & Crafts Association coordinated the day?s dedication, program and luncheon.

 

1975

The seventh annual Arts & Crafts Fair was Sept. 20 with 240 exhibitors recording sales of $11,597 and the food sales totaling $1,316. Exhibitors were not charged an entry fee. A puppet show and folk singer provided entertainment. The bake shop was moved to Kaffee Haus in the city building. First Mennonite Church women prepared a Dutch noon meal (verenike, sausage, New Year?s cookies, rye bread and cherry moos) in the church. Marcella Bruce, Deena Hawkins and Betty Lubbert appeared on ?The Joyce Livingston Show? to promote the fair. A KAKE (Channel 10 in Wichita) television crew reported on the event. Exhibitors? booths were set up for two blocks down the center of Main Street. A half block of Grand Avenue, to the east and west off of Main, was also roped off.

 

 

1976

The eighth fair drew 220 exhibitors, who lined Main Street and East and West Grand on Sept. 18 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Again, exhibitors did not pay an entry fee, but were required to pay a 3 percent tax on their sales. Jacqueline Phillips of Wichita presented several puppet shows under the stoplight at Main and Grand. Doris Johnson, a wheat weaver from Luray, and Marilyn Jones, a wool weaver from Peabody, demonstrated their talents. LaVonne Calam and Deena Hawkins appeared on ?The Joyce Livingston Show? to promote the fair Sept. 14. Ruby Patton, new member, taught tole painting. Marguerite Pankratz organized a committee to make handmade clay ?liberty bell? medallions for each exhibitor in honor of the bicentennial.

Kaffee Haus featured New Year?s cookies, homemade noodles, peppernuts, bierrocks, zwiebach, and other baked goods prepared by various church groups. With clear skies and temperatures in the 80s, the fair was considered another success.

By 1976, the association had $4,300 in a savings account. The money had been earned from the sale of coffee, breadboards, first-day stamp covers, baked goods and wheat-weaving items, and from membership dues.

 

1977

The ninth annual Arts & Crafts Fair was Sept. 17, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. As a result of inclement weather, 38 exhibitors cancelled on Friday, but 12 new last-minute entries came in for a total of 210. Although Friday was rainy, fair day was clear and dry with a strong wind. The information booth at Main and Grand featured a public address system for the first time. The Kaffee Haus, located in the city building, featured baked goods prepared by local churches. The Golden Years Club sold food at a booth at the fair and traditional German food was served in the Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church, plus a quick sack lunch. This is the first year no arrangements were made for relocating the fair in case of rain.

Phyllis Stutzman, Hesston, sang folk songs as part of the entertainment. Jacqueline Phillips of Wichita and Karen Sue Matz featured puppet shows for the children during the day. The fair was still free to exhibitors, but the association sent the sales tax collected by exhibitors to the state. The highest single total for an exhibitor this year was $1,000. The day was clear, dry and windy.

 

 

1978

The 10th annual Arts & Crafts Fair was Sept. 16 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with 300 exhibitors. Entertainment featured spinning and weaving, the puppet show, and a stained-glass window demonstration. The information booth was in front of the 1887 Olde Towne building on Main Street. The building was undergoing renovation. Cub Scouts and church youth groups served food in corner booths on Main. The American Legion sponsored a food booth in front of its building. Daybreaker Kiwanis Club was responsible for filling green arts and crafts balloons with helium for the fair.

Wood and leather items were strong this year. Women from the Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church served borscht, rye bread, hotburgers, pie and drinks, and homemade foods were on sale at the Kaffee Haus. Peppernuts, the traditional Christmas cookie, became a highly sought after item and usually disappeared before early afternoon in all the booths that sold them. G. George Ens, Hillsboro physician and artist, opened the Kansas Wholesale Building on Main Street as a center for the arts.

It was sunny and hot the day of the fair. Shortly after 4 p.m., wind and rain descended upon the fair, damaging several exhibitors? booths. Deena Hawkins, fair director, asked local residents to walk to town since parking was limited due to large crowds.

 

 

1979

The 11th annual Arts & Crafts Fair was Sept. 22 with more than 200 exhibitors. (On Sept. 5, at 7 p.m. at the home of Betty Goertz, a motion was approved to discontinue the Arts & Crafts Fair after this year. The discussion centered on the huge responsibility and amount of work required to produce the fair; the association needed more volunteers to help with the fair.) For the first time, exhibitors will be charged an entry fee ($5).

On Oct. 29, the annual meeting of the Arts & Crafts Association was held at the city building. Discussion centered around the association?s decision to discontinue the fair. Virginia Vanek, from the PRIDE committee, and Don Klassen, Chamber of Commerce president, both encouraged the group to continue the fair. They pledged support from the community in helping the association host the event. After discussion, the motion was made, seconded and carried to continue.

 

 

1980

The 12th annual Arts & Crafts Fair was Sept. 20, with 207 exhibitors entering with a $5 fee. Sales, excluding food sales, exceeded $23,000. It was a ?rotten day with wind,? according to Deena Hawkins, fair director.

Features included cartoon movies for kids, guitarist Bennie Holtsclaw, spinning by Marilyn Jones from Peabody, and baargello and needlepoint by Emma Jean Volland. Exhibitors showed their wares on Main Street sidewalks and also down the center of the streets. The Senior Center featured a noodle-soup-and-pie luncheon and the Kaffee Haus was once again an outstanding success. Large crowds attended, in spite of the weather.

 

 

1981

The 13th annual fair was Sept. 19 with 250 exhibitors paying a $6 entry fee. It was the largest fair ever, with total exhibitor sales topping $25,000. More than 550 entry blanks were mailed to 128 Kansas towns and 20 out of state. The weather was clear, temperatures were in the 80s and a great time was had by all. Guitarist Bennie Holtsclaw and the puppet show folks returned for additional entertainment.

 

 

1982

The 14th annual Arts & Crafts Fair was Sept. 18 with 275 exhibitors paying a $10 entry fee. A crowd exceeding 10,000 purchased more than $50,000 from the exhibitors and $10,000 from food vendors. The entertainment included a puppet show in the library, wool-spinning by Marilyn Jones of Peabody, the work of C.I. Blair, who made spinning tops, and an ultralight air show. The Wichita Eagle, thanks to food editor Kathleen Kelly, featured a full-page presentation of articles and color photographs about the fair?s ethnic foods. The weather was perfect this year with temperatures in the 70s.

Foods options were plentiful. The Senior Center offered noodle soup and pie; Legion Auxiliary served hotburgers, hot dogs, cookies, brownies and drinks at Herb?s Auto, 122 S. Main; Ebenfeld Mennonite Brethren Church served hamburgers at Jost Welding; authentic Hillsboro smoked sausage was barbecued in front of Paul & Ray?s Grocery at 108 W. Grand; Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church served hotburgers, soup and pie. In addition, the Kaffee Haus featured bierrocks, peppernuts, homemade noodles, breads, New Year?s cookies, zwiebach and other baked goods. Food continued to be a major draw for the fair and, the larger the crowds became, the more groups that were needed to serve the food?in addition to all the local restaurants.

Entertainment featured ventriloquist Greg Classen of Whitewater, Lonn Richards and a German polka band, guitarist Bennie Holtsclaw and a puppet show. An ultralight ?fly-in? featured demonstrations such as ?flour-bag bombing.?

 

1983

The 15th annual Arts & Crafts Fair was Sept. 17 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. amid strong, gusty winds. More than 300 exhibitors paid the $10 entry fee to participate. Total sales exceeded $58,000. The huge crowds had access to 12 food booths, plus 10 groups serving in the Kaffee Haus. The ultralights were scheduled to perform but wind prevented it. Kiwanis hosted a pig roast and the Sweet Adelines, the local German band, and guitarist Bennie Holtsclaw provided entertainment. First Mennonite Church workers baked and sold 200 pounds of peppernuts.

 

 

1984

The 16th annual Arts & Crafts Fair, held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 15, drew 380 exhibitors, who each paid an entry fee of $15. Fair space was extended down East Grand to Lincoln Street in order to accommodate the additional exhibitors. Sales reached $72,000 from the more than 30,000 fairgoers. Food sales (not including local restaurants) totaled $15,000.

Because this was the year of Hillsboro?s centennial celebration, several special events are added to the fair. A ?Century of Fashion? clothing show was a feature event for the women. The $100 prize winner for clothing within the years 1884-1934 was Candy Ranney; Virgie Liles won the $100 prize for the years 1935-1984. Joi trio entertained with musical numbers. A rag-doll contest was offered in the public library.

Shuttles hauled fair visitors from the Marion County Fair grounds to the downtown location. Traffic counters recorded more than 15,000 vehicles. Kansas magazine ran an article on the fair and included a color photo of Rita Loewen and her family in their centennial outfits. Ideal weather contributed to the success of the event.

 

 

1985

When Sept. 21 dawned for the 17th annual Arts & Crafts Fair, 340 of the 400 preregistered exhibitors were setting up. A two-hour sprinkle during the early morning created some problems, but sales soared in spite of the weather.

Sausagecrafters of Hillsboro sold more than 400 pounds of smoked sausage. Total exhibitor sales totaled $123,617 and food sales exceeded $16,000. The entry fee for exhibitors was $15. Trolley trailers from Parkside Homes were used to transport fairgoers from the county fairgrounds to the downtown. Orlando Schultz planned traffic and parking control, with more than 35 people helping him. Crowds were estimated between 15,000 and 20,000. New in 1985 was downtown parking for exhibitors.

Carol Breese, Deena Hawkins and Stacy Latimer had appeared at the Kansas Main Street Conference in Wichita to promote the fair. They dressed as clowns, in keeping with the clown theme for the year.

 

 

1986

The 18th Arts & Crafts Fair was Sept. 20 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Gov. John Carlin designated the fair an official part of Kansas?s 125th birthday celebration. The Joi trio sang ?Happy Birthday, Kansas? in each block of the fair and a $125 drawing was organized for the artists. Five Kansas birthday cakes were given to artists, one cake in each block.

The weather was perfect, with temperatures in the 80s. The fair topped all previous sales and attendance records. Total sales for the exhibitors was $188,704 and food surpassed $30,000. The entry fee was again $15.

 

 

1987

The 19th Arts & Crafts Fair, held Sept. 19, attracted 409 exhibitors who sold more than $237,000 of goods. Food vendors sold almost $40,000 worth of food and drinks. Perfect weather pleased the huge crowds.

This was the first year the association sponsored Main Street banners. The association also purchased Christmas banners for the holiday season. The 1987 fair brochure was designed by Don Franz, son of Ray and Aldina Franz. The exhibitor?s fee was $20. Law enforce?ment estimated the crowd between 20,000 to 40,000. Visitors gave the fair good reviews.

 

 

1988

About 35,000 visitors came to enjoy the 20th anniversary Arts & Crafts Fair on Sept. 17. Exhibitors from 15 states picked up their packets at 6:30 a.m. at the high school parking lot. The entry fee remained $20. Buses, trolley trailers, and vans were used to transport fairgoers from the county fairgrounds to Main Street. Local artist Stan Friesen designed a purple, green and orange brochure to honor the anniversary. KAKE television covered the event.

The nearly 400 exhibitors generated sales of $315,000 and food vendors reported sales of $41,000. A package check-in station was located between the alley and Vogt?s IGA. The information booth was located in front of city hall on East Grand outside the Chamber of Commerce office.

 

 

1989

About 1,000 entries were received for the 21st annual fair, which was from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 16. Of the those entries, 375 were accepted and charged an entry fee of $20. About 25 food vendors were accepted as well. Exhibitors? sales exceeded $375,000 and food vendors reported sales of $50,000.

Sausagecrafters of Hillsboro sold more than 1,800 smoked-sausage sandwiches. Tabor College Auxiliary served a Dutch meal in the First National Bank community room. A gallery art sale was offered in the public library. Dutch Country food was available at the Kaffee Haus in addition to food vendors and local restaurants. The Chamber of Commerce sold a barbecued beef lunch under the stoplight at Main and Grand.

Tabor College sophomores offered baby-sitting services at a church nursery. A number of portable restrooms were positioned throughout the fair. Transpor?tation was enhanced for fairgoers by use of USD 410?s school buses. Fairgoers also enjoyed great weather following a week of rain. The Wichita Eagle featured the fair in a story that ran on the Sunday following the event.

 

 

1990

The 22nd fair, held Sept. 15 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., featured 412 exhibitors from 16 states, and attracted 35,000 to 40,000 visitors. The exhibitors? entry fee was $20. Sausagecrafters featured a German band. Tabor College students were on hand to help exhibitors unload.

Exhibitors sales exceeded $462,000. The Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce food booth raised more than $7,000. Trolleys from Salem Home and Parkside Homes were used to transport fairgoers.

 

 

1991

The 23rd fair was Sept. 21 in downtown Hillsboro, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Some 400 exhibitors from Kansas and 15 other states participated; the entry fee was $20. Some individual exhibitors reported between $1,000 to $8,000 in sales for the day. Total sales exceeded $516,710, while food vendors sold $67,132.

This year?s event included a new feature: The U.S. Post Office offered a special pictorial cancellation to com?mem?orate the fair. Rose Duncan, postmaster, set up a booth in front of Emprise Bank. On the day of the fair, cancellations could be affixed to first-class letters. The offer was unique because it could only be purchased on that one day, making the stamp desirable for collectors.

The fair had grown into a gigantic production with hundreds of volunteers who helped make it happen. A 20-minute video was made of the event.

 

 

1992

The 24th annual Arts & Crafts Fair was Sept. 19 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with 390 exhibitors from 16 states each paying a $50 entry fee. Total sales were $664,268, including $73,000 from food vendors. Crowds were estimated at more than 30,000.

The local post office continued the Pictorial Stamp Cancellation. The fair became known as the ?Midwestern Creative Art Market.?

 

 

1993

The 25th anniversary of the Arts & Crafts Fair was celebrated Sept. 18 from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. This year?s brochures billed the fair as ?The Midwestern Creative Art Market.? The 400 exhibitors paid an entry fee of $50 and posted sales of $761,299, an increase of $96,000 from the previous year. Food vendors collected $78,642. The fair had become a huge extravaganza involving the entire community. Hundreds of people volunteered to help make the day a success.

Food continued to be a draw for out-of-town visitors. Twenty-eight street vendors provided a variety of food and drink. USD 410 buses transported fairgoers from the county fairgrounds to the art fair. The Kaffee Haus was a popular spot and the U.S. Postal Service staff offered a pictorial stamp cancellation.

Larry Hatteberg, creator of the ?Hatteberg?s People? feature segment at KAKE television, sold his book about the show. Two other authors, Kathleen Kelly and Frank Rowe of the Wichita Eagle, joined Hillsboro?s Esther L. Vogt as book exhibitors.

The fair was again promoted on the ?Mike & Moagie Show? on KAKE. A light drizzle fell during the early morning hours, but the estimated 35,000 shoppers were not deterred. One Missouri exhibitor told the Wichita Eagle he had sold 2,500 weather-station yard ornaments for $25. KFDI radio announcers broadcast from a mobile unit at the fair.

 

 

1994

The 26th Arts & Crafts Fair was Sept. 17 from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The usual German food-fest, Kaffee Haus, bake sales and demonstrations, as well as the official U.S. Pictorial Stamp Cancellation all contributed to another outstanding fair. The 410 exhibitors paid an entry fee of $50 and reported sales of $735,000; concessions and bake sales generated nearly $78,000 in sales. Orlando Schultz continued to assist with parking and traffic and 36 portable toilets were ordered from BFI.

 

 

1995

The 27th Arts & Crafts Fair was Sept. 16 from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The sunflower promotional brochure was designed by Nancy Miller of Hillsboro. Four-hundred exhibitors from 16 states sold $776,069 in goods, while food-concessions sales totaled $74,775. The entry fee was $60. One exhibitor sold 1,200 weather vanes at $21.50 each. The local post office again sponsored the Pictorial Stamp Cancellation.

Tabor College cooked a verenike-and-sausage dinner at Emprise Bank. Olde Towne Restaurant served a German menu, and the German food-fest continued at the Kaffee Haus, with bierrocks, peppernuts, New Year?s cookies, and other ethnic foods. Tabor College students helped in the Chamber of Commerce booth and sold their share of 3,200 Baskin-Robbins ice cream bars.

 

 

1996

The Arts & Crafts Fair was Sept. 21, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The exhibitor?s entry fee was $70 for a single booth and $140 for a double both. A crowd estimated at 45,000 viewed the wares of 400 exhibitors.

Crafters came from from 18 states, but half of the exhibitors were from Kansas. The ultralight planes gave free rides at the airport. The weather was perfect and the crowds set sales records of $830,632 for exhibitors and $75,586 for concessions.

The German food-fest provided a wide variety of ethnic foods and Sausagecrafters served the traditional hot smoked-sausage sandwiches. Thirty booths featured food concessions. BFI provided 50 portable restrooms.

Sunshine Artist, a premier show and festival publication, rated the Hillsboro Arts & Crafts Fair as one of the top 100 shows in the nation in both art and crafts. Hillsboro?s fair was the only show in Kansas to receive this honor. The award is based on exhibitor input.

 

1997

The 29th Arts & Crafts Fair was Sept. 20, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The 365 exhibitors earned $795,007 and concessions generated $74,929 more. The entry fee for exhibitors was $70 for a single booth and $140 for a double. The crowd was estimated at more than 45,000. The Wichita Eagle did a full-page story on Hillsboro smoked sausage and its importance to the fair. It was published, with color photos, in the Saturday edition on fair day.

The food booths, meals and concessions generated funds for sponsoring organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, Lions, Kiwanis, Tabor College, churches and their youth groups, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, American Legion Post #366, Historical Society, Fire Department and others. The Hillsboro Sausagecrafters served grilled sausage sandwiches. The Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce served a barbecue dinner under the stoplight and cleared more than $5,000. Members also sold hundreds of Baskin-Robbins ice cream bars. The Tabor Auxiliary served an ethnic meal in Emprise Bank?s community room. First Mennonite Church sold out of peppernuts early in the day.

The fair had become a key fund-raising event for local groups. The current policy limited food and concessions to local vendors. The volunteer groups, plus the local restaurants managed to ?feed the multitudes.? Crafts and art sales were at an all-time high.

 

 

1998

A special community celebration for the 30th anniversary of the Arts & Crafts Fair was held Friday evening, Sept. 18. At 3:30 a.m. Sept. 19 the dawn patrol began marking streets and sidewalks. At 5 a.m. packets were handed to the 400-plus exhibitors to begin setting up for the opening of the fair at 9 a.m. Total sales for the day exceeded $840,000. Eunice Matz and her committee hosted the Kaffee Haus for coffee breaks. Area churches sold baked goods.

 

 

1999

The Arts and Crafts Fair was Sept. 18. The booth fee was $70 for a 10×10 space. The 378 vendors reported good sales in spite of light rain during the day. Greg Washmon, a member of the American Legion, was in charge of parking cars at the fairgrounds. Buses from USD 410 were used to transport shoppers from the fairgrounds to downtown Hillsboro. Elva Suderman was in charge of the stamp cancellation.

 

 

2000

The fair was Sept. 16 with 378 exhibitors reporting sales of more than $705,447. Food concessions reported sales of $74,686. Marsha Setzkorn-Meyer served coffee at the fairgrounds at 4 a.m. for exhibitors waiting for their packets. Sunshine Artist magazine listed the fair among the top 100 in the country.

 

 

2001

The 2001 Arts & Crafts fair was Sept. 15, just four days after the terrorist attacks on New York City and the Pentagon. A good crowd attended to shop with the 398 exhibitors; anything patriotic was in demand. Ethnic foods such as Hillsboro?s famous sausage as well as verenike, New Year?s cookies and bierrocks were sold along with hamburgers, pies and other choices.

 

 

2002

The 2002 Arts & Crafts fair was Saturday, Sept. 21, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The weather was perfect for an outdoor fair. Attendance was estimated at 50,000 to 55,000. This was the first year artists were allowed to begin set-up at 8 p.m. on Friday, which was well received. Booth space was $75 for a 10×10 space. The streets were blocked off at 7 p.m. to allow volunteers to mark the streets.

 

 

2003

The 35th annual Hillsboro Arts & Crafts Fair was Saturday, Sept. 20. It was a perfect weather day; the crowd was estimated at 45,000 to 50,000. The 360 exhibitors reported good sales. The 29 food vendors selling reported sales of more than $81,000. With the city?s permission, vendors were allowed to begin set-up at 6 p.m. An appreciation coffee was held for the Hillsboro city employees who help to make the fair a success.

 

2004

The Hillsboro Arts & Crafts Fair was Sept. 18. More than 40,000 shoppers arrived early to see what was the new and exciting merchandise for this year. The exhibitors represented 15 states. There were 34 food vendors in addition to the Kaffee Haus.

 

 

2005

The Hillsboro Arts & Crafts Fair was Sept. 17. A total of 368 exhibitors were accepted for placement. Booth fees were $75 for a 10×10 space. The exhibitors represented 15 states, and 53 vendors were new. The 4-H club was in charge of evening cleanup and did a great job. The association purchased 20 trash polycarts as well as new radios for use at the fair.

 

 

2006

The Hillsboro Arts & Crafts Fair was Sept. 16. The 40 mph wind was a big factor; a number of exhibitors lost merchandise as well as their tents. The Kaffee Haus hosted by Eunice Matz was a popular place as shoppers tried to escape the wind.

 

 

2007

The Arts & Crafts Fair was Sept. 15. The weather was disappointing. Several thunderstorms moved through the area in the morning along with temperatures in the 50s, which made shopping difficult. We are thankful for the shoppers who braved the weather. Cost of a 10×10 exhibitor space in the center of the street was $90. Sidewalk spaces were $75 each. Concession spaces were available at $60.

 

 

2008

The 39th Arts & Crafts Fair was Sept. 20 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The exhibitor entry fee was $90 for a single booth. A crowd estimated at 45,000 was on site to shop and enjoy the various food booths. The weather was perfect, with little wind and cool temperatures. More than 300 exhibitors reported total sales of $403,222.43 and concessions generated an additional $65,573.99. Sue Wadkins was in charge of marking the streets, beginning at 5 p.m. and had a great crew, which made the process quick. Arts & Crafts rented a large lighted billboard for six months near Walton advertising our fair. The show was also advertised on KWCH Channel 12.

 

 

2009

Plans are being made for the 40th Hillsboro Arts & Crafts Fair on Sept. 19. A special community event is planned for Friday night, Sept. 18. The excitement will begin in Hillsboro several days earlier when exhibitors and shoppers begin to arrive in town with motor homes, trailers, etc. Waste Management will deliver 40 portable restrooms and seven handwash stations. Downtown restaurants and merchants will gear up for the extra business. A crowd of more then 40,000 is expected. Sue Wadkins is in charge of the EMTs and first responders. The police force will be on hand for extra security. A meeting was held in March to inform food vendors of ?safe-food guidelines.?

 

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