On Friday, Oct. 15th, mom & I had a craft fair weekend. Every year North West Arkansas goes craft fair crazy. And so do me and my mother. War Eagle is our favorite, then we head to Bella Vista, Springdale, and Pinnacle Hills in no particular order. This post is gonna be picture heavy. Strap in. Here we go.
War Eagle is by far the most popular one and generally has the biggest crowds. Mom and I usually get up early and head there first because there's only one road in and one road out so if you don't get ahead of 90% of everyone else then you get to spend like an hour in your car waiting in line to get to park. There is even more congestion due to the fact that the craft fair is spread out on both sides of the river and the only way to cross it is a single car bridge. So they have to alternate car traffic from both directions and accommodate pedestrian traffic too. War Eagle Mills and Farm is a beautiful place, even without the craft fair. Check out more about it here.
When we arrived, we came in from the east and immediately crossed the bridge to park on the west side. Trust me, that is the best strategy. Even though we were early and were way ahead of the crowd, there were quite a few people ahead of us. Here's the parking lot at the moment of arrival:
Here's what we first saw after parking and walking towards the action:
This next photo is blurry, sorry about that, but it shows what it is like inside one of the huge craft tents. This is just one side of the tent, each tent has two sides just like this. And on the west side of the river there are 4 of these tents.
After going through everything on the west side, we get in line to cross the bridge and head over towards the mill:
There's already quite a crowd on this side:
Here's a pic of the mill and the east side of the bridge:
On this side, the crafters just have single tent booths setup. It's more open and thins the crowd out a bit:
It's a lot of walking and shopping, so Mom (orange shirt) offered to buy us each a fresh squeezed lemonade:
After we had seen all there was to see, we crossed the bridge again and headed for the car. A couple hours had passed and the crowd size had grown like 10x. Remember the line to cross the bridge a few photos ago? Here's the same line, going the same direction, now that we're leaving:
In fact, the line to the bridge is all the way back to the first tents we went into:
Now you see why we get there early. We managed to avoid having to wait like that. After we left War Eagle, we went to the Bella Vista craft fair which is so much smaller I can't even describe how much smaller it is. I didn't take any pictures there. It's just a few tents in a field in the middle of nowhere. While in Bella Vista, we stopped and had lunch at Dairy Queen.
Next stop was Springdale, AR for the Holiday Inn Convention Center craft fair. I had been waiting to get to this one since... well, since last year actually. Because the only real purchase I make during craft season comes from this location. And I don't even have to go in the front door. This is the craft fair where I find Carey Huckaby every year. He's a spray paint artist from Austin, Texas and he creates spray paint paintings and sells them right outside the main entrance. I could stand and watch him all day. This is the 3rd year I've seen him and it's the 3rd year I've purchased one of his paintings.
Here he is painting the one I bought this year. His work is so popular you have to jump in and buy the painting before it's done because otherwise someone else will have bought it before you get a chance to. Once I saw him put down the yellow & orange, I paid for this one. My other two did not have these colors so I knew it'd be one to add to my collection.
More pictures of Carey at work on different paintings can be found on my Flickr page.
And to see pictures of the past two paintings I have purchased from Carey, check this old blog post.