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Siiri Grubb, a juried member of the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen and co-owner of Sally Bags, was one of the emerging artists that participated for the first time at last year's fair and will be participating this year. The annual League of NH Craftsmen's Fair is a showcase the latest handcrafted work by the juried members of the League. (Courtesy)

League of NH Craftsmen's Fair opens with new event for hardcore collectors


NEWBURY — The 81st annual League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s Fair will begin Saturday with an early bird event.

The “Collectors Sprint” will be held Saturday, Aug. 2, only. Guests pay $50 to enter the fair at 9 a.m., an hour before it officially opens, and have exclusive access to one-of-a-kind pieces they may be seeking, said Susie Lowe-Stockwell, executive director of the League. The fair opens to the public at 10 a.m.

A lot of patrons come back year after year excited to see the latest creations from their favorite craftsmen, she said.

“Our craftsmen have been encouraging us to do this, so we’re trying it out,” Lowe-Stockwell said. “It’s a chance to see what’s new and be the first to be able to purchase that brand new item.”

The Craftsmen’s Fair will showcase the work of 350 craftsmen, whose work ranges from contemporary to traditional works of pottery, furniture, handblown glass, framed prints, decorative scarves and jewelry.

There has always been a strong educational component to the fair. In addition to the daily craft demonstrations and workshops, there will be entertainment for the entire family.

“We have roving magicians and jugglers and just wonderful things happening all over the fairgrounds,” Susie Lowe-Stockwell said.

Many of the juried members of the fair have been attending for decades. For last year’s newcomers Janet Durkee-Prescott and Siiri Grub, who make handcrafted handbags and totes through Sally Bags in North Conway, are excited to return for their second year.

“We’re thrilled, to say the least,” Durkee-Prescott said. “You’re in with the best of the best of all the artisans in New Hampshire. You get a little starstruck.”

The fair starts Saturday, Aug. 2, and runs through Sunday, Aug. 10 at the Mount Sunapee Resort in Newbury. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, rain or shine. Admission is $10 for adults; $8 for seniors, students, active duty military, and groups of 20 or more. Admission is free for children 12 and under. A ticket includes admission to all exhibitions and demonstrations. Tickets can be purchased at www.nhcrafts.org.

For those who can’t make it during the day, there will be a special Thursday night event on Aug. 7 called “$5 After 4” in which the fair will stay open three hours later, until 8 p.m., and admission is half price after 4 p.m.

mpierce@newstote.com


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