Oct 5, 2019 | By: Malaak Khattab

In Focus: Over 70 Craft Vendors Take Part In Annual Fall Festival

Over 70 craft vendors displayed their products at the Beltrami County Fairgrounds as part of the ninth annual Fall Festival.

“Right now, there are two different buildings. One building is direct sales, so it gives them a chance to expose their products so the public knows about it. And in this building its all hand-crafted,” said Gloria Collyard, a participant of the festival.

The festival was first organized in 2010 as an outdoor event that took place outside Lazy Jacks in Bemidji. But because of the unpredictable weather, it made it difficult to get vendors to the event.

“My daughter, Lindsey Claypool, took it over and she brought it in here to the fairgrounds, and we’ve been here for three years now,” Collyard said.

Collyard says the event has been expanding since they started. This year, they’ve taken up two buildings at the fairgrounds to accommodate all of the vendors who displayed their handmade craft items. The purpose of the craft festival is to give people a platform to showcase their work that they enjoy doing.

“It gives people an opportunity to take what they love doing and sell it to the public and keep going in their area,” Collyard said.“ It gives us a chance to see what other people in the community are doing. And it’s just fascinating to see what people can create on their own.”

A lot of vendors displayed their handcrafted jewelry, soap, wood work, clothes, and even facial bars. One of the youngest vendors at the festival was eight-year-old Cole. He specializes in making bread boards and has been making handmade bread boards for three years.

“First, we get strips of wood, that we cut in the shop and we take seven oak and one walnut and glue them all together and clamp them. Once they’re dry, we sand them down and put on food grain mineral oil for the finish, and then we have the finish bread board,” Cole said.

The boards come in different sizes ranging from short to long.

“Normally, the short boards are smaller and they don’t have the handles on them, and the long boards have the handles for grips and whatever,” Cole said.

Cole says he enjoys meeting with people and talking to them about his product.

The Fall Craft Festival takes place on the last week of September every year. Organizers for the event say they hope to expand it even more next year.

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