Art & Theater / Featured Content

More than crafts

Great New England Fine Craft and Artisan Show is back for the seventh year

By Katelyn Sahagian

For the seventh year, the Great New England Fall Fine Craft and Artisan Show will bring juried and expert artisans and crafters to sell their creations. The event returns to the Hampshire Dome in Milford over two days on Saturday, Oct. 22, and Sunday, Oct. 23.
While there are plenty of craft fairs to attend in New Hampshire, Jody Donohue, the creator and organizer, prefers to call what she does a show. She said that while craft and artisan fairs are a lot of fun, she tries to elevate what happens to a higher level.
“The booths are just beautiful to look at,” Donohue said. The sellers decorate them, and she’ll provide linen tablecloths and other presentation assistance. “We keep it professional because that’s more of a reflection of the products offered.”
When the event was started seven years ago, the Hampshire Dome had asked Donohue to run a small fair selling different products like Tupperware or Avon, and she reached out to a few crafters to see if there was any interest. Not long after, she was officially running events for the Hampshire Dome.
Donohue said that the running joke from everyone was that she would fill the 94,000-square-foot sports arena to the brim with crafters.
Though she doesn’t do that, Donohue said that between the 14 events she now runs, she’s received thousands of requests from crafters and artisans to be included in the show. The first year was a little different.
“I hit pavement and went to 16 craft fairs,” Donohue said. “I interviewed all the artisans and ran my first fair as this fall show. It’s been taking off since then.”
This year the fair will have 150 vendors spaced out across the Hampshire Dome. Within that selection of artisans will be a wide range of handmade goods. Some of the items are juried, meaning that they are submitted to see if they meet quality standards, while others are from longtime sellers at the show. In the past there have even been high school students selling things they excel at making.
Donohue said the main reason she likes to be selective about who sells at her show is that she doesn’t want to flood the market. While she’ll have eight or nine artisans selling similar products, everything will be unique.
Some of the wares being sold include handmade truffles, old-fashioned wooden toys carved from different wood, lanterns with stained glass panes, wines with edible shimmers, and nature-inspired watercolors.
While people shop, they’ll be treated to live music from the stage at the center of the dome. There will be craft cocktails and wine and beer at a bar for shoppers of age to sip on while they browse, and food trucks outside selling meals beyond the specialty foods at the different stalls.
Donohue said that, to her, the effort she puts into making this show is worth it when she sees people happy after selling out of their items.
“These people work so hard to create those products,” Donohue said. “I’m so proud of them and I just love doing what I love doing.”

Great New England Fall Fine Craft and Artisan Show
Hampshire Dome, 34 Emerson Road, Milford
When: Saturday, Oct. 22, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 23, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Price: $5 for entry, children 14 and younger are free

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