Purposefully small and regional, some craft shows are a short drive from Wichita for a few hours of shopping and outdoor fun.
Sprawling and involving vendors from across the country, others are multi-hour drives for at least an overnight of shopping and seeing autumn colors.
Shoppers and treasure hunters: you have choices this fall when it comes to shopping for fall décor or upcoming holiday gifts. The accompanying list of fall arts and crafts shows, barn sales and fine art fairs reveals you could try a different version every weekend through early November.
Rae Beck calls her family’s fourth annual Blue Truck Vintage Market small and special, with 50 booths concentrated on area crafters and collectors. Many have an Etsy store, like she does, and this gives them a chance to sell in person and to share their workmanship or vintage finds with the community.
This year’s event is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21 on their 5-acre homestead at 8217 N. Worthington Road near Buhler, about 40 miles northwest of Wichita. In addition to the antique, art and crafts vendors, there will be live music and at least seven local food vendors.
Among the food options will be The light House Bakery, a home based bakery; Buckskin Road Coffee Roastery; and Koehn’s Homemade Ice Cream, with flavor combinations like apple cider and oatmeal cookie and blackberry shortbread. The full list of vendors is available at the event’s Facebook page: facebook.com/bluetruckvintagemarket.
Beck said she plans to keep the market about the same size, which fits in the front pasture just outside their 1930s farmhouse. Last year, about 1,000 attended, paying a $5 entry fee per person for those 13 and older, a portion of which is donated to a local non-profit.
The Wiebe family also is determined to keep the intimacy of their twice-a-year events in Whitewater, about 30 miles north of Wichita. They host a spring and a fall barn sale at their Keriel Dairy, 12434 NW Meadowlark Road, the last remaining active dairy farm in Butler County. Visitors also can see cows and baby calves while on the farm shopping at the 50 vendors set up in and around the barn, selling handmade crafts, original art, antiques and homemade foods.
The Keriel Dairy Fall Barn Sale is 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12. Visit facebook.com/KerielDairy to see teasers of vendors.
Because they don’t charge admission, Kerry Wiebe said she doesn’t have a certain headcount, but she kept selling out of the 1,000 cupcakes she makes to sell so this fall she’s making 1,300 in five flavors. Her third-generation, dairy-farming husband, whom she calls “the milkman,” sells a lunch of smoked pulled pork sandwiches featuring his own barbecue sauce and homemade pasta salad.
For larger events, there’s the 48th annual Sugar Mound Arts & Crafts Festival in Mound City, which brings 15,000 to 20,000 people to this Kansas town of 700 about three hours east of Wichita. The two-day event is Oct. 12-13 and gathers 450 juried booths selling only handcrafted crafts and art from local, regional and national artists.
The setting is among the draws: Linn County Fairgrounds sits in a valley of sugar maple trees and by mid-October the colors have usually turned orange, yellow and red.
The event is free; there are about 30 food vendors on site. A full schedule of events is available at sugarmoundartscrafts.com.
As part of its “Year of Shows & Festivals,” Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo., has replaced its regular autumn National Crafts & Cowboy Festival with a multi-faceted Harvest Festival that park officials say creates the biggest fall in the park’s nearly six-decade history.
The daytime feature of the new festival is Craft Days. New artists and visiting craftsmen will rotate in each week, demonstrating throughout the park. Find a schedule with artist descriptions at silverdollarcity.com/theme-park/Attractions/Craftsmen. This is in addition to the park’s 100 resident demonstrating craftsmen, from blacksmiths to glass blowers. There is also a reimagined Makers’ Market in the Frisco Freight Barn, with handmade treasures including embroidery, jewelry and home dècor.
The evening element is Pumpkin Nights, thousands of illuminated pumpkins, giant scarecrows, cats and other characters. A pumpkin-lined path leads to a dance party and fall activities at Pumpkin Plaza. Regular features at the 1880s theme park also are available, from rides to live entertainment.
Harvest Festival runs Sept. 25 through Oct. 26. The park is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays. One-day ticket prices start at $68 for adults. See a full list of options at silverdollarcity.com.