(Photos: Bronwyn & Steve :: Photos + Film for Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair, LLC)
Event Ranked 2nd in the Nation Opens October 10th
“Gatlinburg is a particularly friendly venue. I’ve encountered nothing but kind, caring people. It seems that most visitors to the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair have a true appreciation of handcrafted arts. They often are surprised that the artist or crafter themselves are present to show and sell the craft.” – Gayle Sassano, Cook N Serve Aprons & More
For the 44th year, the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair fall event opens Thursday, October 10th and continues through Sunday, October 27th at the Gatlinburg Convention Center. With the surging interest in handmade products among Gen X, Millennials and post-Millennials, plus the booming economy and record numbers of visitors to Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this Fair is expected to see a huge rise in interest and participation by makers and patrons alike.
Now with the two events ranked 2nd and 5th in the nation, Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair events offer unique and one-of-a-kind handmade products beautifully displayed in 200 or more booths, many with demonstrations by the artisans. All items represented are handmade and of utmost quality and without duplication. Look for exceptional pottery pieces, molded leather, copper art, local candy makers, and many more unique items.
This fall our Fair includes guest makers from the Knox Makers during our first and third periods. These scholarship booths are being offered to increase the interaction between artisans in and patrons to our Fair and those in our sister city’s young and thriving makers community.
We will also be supporting educational booths on rotation for organizations such as Sevier Solid Waste, Inc., which operates the largest mixed co-composting facility in the nation, the Cades Cove Museum and Cades Cove Preservation Association, and others. As always we support Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries and their ongoing service to our visiting artisans, patrons, and travelers from all over the world visiting our area.
Our Fair’s July 2019 show was visited by JTV to record segments for its popular shows about handmade jewelry, one very popular niche category in our Fair. (If you would like to view some of their videos, click this link).
“We enjoy the social interaction with both the other vendors and customers. We miss this on Etsy. At craft shows, the customers give us feedback about what they like and want to see in the future. This helps strengthen my jewelry line.” – Elaine Krugman and Bruce Cook, Cooked Glass Creations
Also voted one of the Southeast’s Most Popular Events, our Fair is recommended for families, couples, and anyone with an appreciation for the best, most unique gifts available anywhere.
“I specifically choose the Gatlinburg Craftsmen Fair because of the ethics of the promoter. It had to be handmade by the craftsmen or it was not allowed in the show. Sam Large [former owner, with Tracey (Large) Li] was very firm on this aspect. It was important to Sam that the show embodied the authenticity of handmade so his customers could take value home with them after enjoying Gatlinburg. It was and is my understanding that Sam recognized that the customer valued handcrafted vs. mass produced.” — Lisa Baraszu, Nimble Needle II
Opening each day at 10 am, the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair usually takes most of the day to see. If you don’t quite get through it all, multi-day tickets are available at the Craftsmen’s Fair office located at the end of aisle 600. For October’s 18 days, the cost is only $3 for as many returns as you can enjoy! Watch our Facebook page for special announcements, and visit our website, CraftsmenFair.com, for a searchable directory and more.
Our October and July Fairs of 2018 were voted the 2nd and 5th Best Classic and Contemporary Craft Fairs in the nation by professional artists and craftsmen, according to Sunshine Artist magazine.
“The [Gatlinburg] Craftsmen’s Fair is a well juried event and ensures a consistency of quality, and design uniqueness of the crafters who portray a level of professionalism and commitment to the crafting industry. This is the ‘nicest’ craft fair I participate in with organizers and support from people who truly care about our welfare and success.” – Fiona Thompson, Elegant EarCuffs & More by Fiona
Most of the participants in this Fair are full time professionals able to dedicate a great length of time to making and exhibiting at this 18-day fair. Shorter periods of six days are available, but most of the exhibitors and demonstrators set up shop indoors for the duration and say they just enjoy interacting with customers.
“From someone who was told that by an exhibitor who had done it for years, we are sorry we didn’t do it sooner! Gatlinburg is wonderful, as are the folks who work there. No matter which shop or restaurant, they always let you know they are glad you are there, but, if you want to be spoiled as an exhibitor, be a part of the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair.” – Connie Starkey, First Glass
“We love the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair! We meet a lot of people, some new customers, some we have known for years. During our years of doing the shows we have gained so many friends. A lot of them come every year – both July and October.” – Bev Humphreys, Bev’s Bags
“Because of the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair and the exposure it brought to me, I now have people from all over the United States and as far away as Australia reading what I write in my books and following me on Facebook and Twitter every day. I was able to share my books with people who would have never known I existed.” – Randall Carpenter, Ran Cath Writings
“This is our 35th year at the show, and folks truly come from all over the United States to visit the Smokies and make the show one of their stops. You have the privilege to visit one-on-one with every person that buys a piece of your work.” – Fritz & Penny Simonecht, Penny’s Leather
Exhibitors point out the value of the family-like network, the wisdom of those who have gone before them, the feedback from customers, the refreshing of purpose from interacting with customers in person, the close relationships formed in their travels, and the preservation of their own families and relationships from participating in this Fair.
“We like being able to handcraft something with our hands and have our family with us 24/7. Our family life is very important to us. Our kids have grown up in this business, and in turn it has made them hard workers themselves.” – Joe & Cassie Nelson, Fox Creek Baskets
“We have tremendous respect for the talents and work ethic of all these people we are privileged to work with filling the [150,000 square feet of downtown’s] Gatlinburg Convention Center twice each year,” said Kelly Rusk, co-promoter [with Jeff Rusk] of the Fair. “The Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair can only have the reputation it does through the ongoing creativity and hard work of these artisans from all over the nation who choose to exhibit here again and again, for 44 years now. The fair’s reputation, established by the Reagans and the Larges before us, is a high mark we strive towards as the new promoters and owners.”
“The American craftsmen is how this country started! We need it to be strong to continue to be part of keeping this country so special.” – Rosalyn Rego-Sharpe, Designs by Rego
The bottom line though is that successful, well-run craft shows help ensure the success of their businesses.
“Gatlinburg is different. Instead of a pond, the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair is a meandering river. There are plenty of local and even distant customers who return year after year, but most of the people who visit your event are just passing through town. They come from all over the country and around the world and happen upon the craft fair on their way to some other distraction.
“Instead of a pond, the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair is a meandering river.”
This gives us incredible exposure to incidental buyers from a wide territory – far greater reach than we could ever achieve through any other marketing plan. It also assures that we will never over fish the Gatlinburg pond, since new fish are swimming down the river every season.” – Don Stewart, Chief Visual Humorist, DS Art Studio Gallery
The Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair is open daily 10 am to 6 pm, Sundays 10 am to 5 pm from October 10-27, 2019, at the Gatlinburg Convention Center, near traffic light number 8 on the Parkway in downtown Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Daily music shows are included with the price of admission at 12 and 3. This October we are welcoming back Misty River, an acoustic bluegrass band, and The Dennis Lee Band, featuring contemporary country, bluegrass, patriotic, and your favorite gospel tunes.
Concessions are available for sale through the Gatlinburg Convention Center and provided by Proof of the Pudding.
The Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair would like to extend a special word of thanks to two local churches for their ministry to our craftsmen and women: First Baptist Church of Gatlinburg and Trinity Episcopal Church of Gatlinburg.
For more information about Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair, visit our website: CraftsmenFair.com; or email us: [email protected]. You may also view videos on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, as well as our website.