The Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands, now in its 73rd year, will make history in 2020 by shifting the long-standing event to a digital space. The virtual Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands will take place at CraftGuild.org/CraftFair from Thursday, July 16, to Sunday, July 19. “This will certainly be a new experience for craft lovers,” says Millie Davis, marketing director for the Guild and organizer of the fair. “The internet opens the door to a new set of opportunities for connecting the makers with their customers. An unlimited audience can interact with artists and take a peek into their studios, all from the comfort of one’s home.”
Admission to the four-day event will be free and raffle tickets will be available for $5, with proceeds going to the Guild’s educational department. Visitors to the site can access a directory of artisans and virtual booths for participating members where shoppers can buy directly from artists, watch videos of craft demonstrations and interact with artists in their studios through livestreams.
Chris Van Dyke, who will be doing a livestream demonstration of his process for handmade jewelry, has been a member of the Guild for 18 years and participated in many past fairs. “I feel this will be a positive experience that will more than likely become standard practice,” he says of the virtual fair. “The internet allows the Guild to come to the patrons as compared to them always having to come to us.” Guild member Ray Jones, who will also be participating with a livestream, agrees that the expanded reach of the virtual fair is a huge benefit. “I have a lot of customers from all over the US, and a few from other countries,” he says. “They will all be able to visit the fair without traveling to Asheville. It won’t be as good as being face-to-face with them, but I’m hoping many more people will visit the virtual fair than are able to come to the physical event.”
For more information, visit CraftGuild.org/CraftFair.