Saturday’s Holiday Artisans Fair at The First Parish Church in Bedford came about in a serendipitous manner. Bedford resident Chris Wojnar is a member of both the Bedford Cultural District and the Gallery Team at First Parish and it seems both groups wanted to put on a fair where local artists could sell their wares.
Because Chris was a member of both committees, she suggested that the two combine their efforts and work on one event. With Chris being the liaison between the two groups and Jeff King, Bedford’s Housing and Economic Development Director, supporting the idea, planning began on the co-sponsored event in tandem with the town’s annual Tree Lighting Festivities.
The Bedford Cultural District is eager to create opportunities for Bedford artists to showcase their work. The Holiday Artisans Fair was a great opportunity to do that.
Planning and collaborating together, both groups worked to create last Saturday’s well attended and fun event. Even the rain could not keep the artists and craftsmen from bringing their wares to the church where tables had been set up and assigned to each artist.
There was a lot of camaraderie between the vendors as they set up in anticipation of the coming crowd who came in the afternoon for the Winter Walkabout as well as the tree lighting and a visit from Santa Claus.
Among the artists was an author as well as glassmakers, jewelers, potters, quilters, weavers, and woodworkers. In addition, there were representatives from The Glass Cooperative at the Bedford Depot and the Bedford Arts and Crafts Society. One of the vendors was selling refugee-made crocheted animals, dolls, and ornaments as well as another selling Sudanese cloth napkins.
There were also young people who had made items to be sold. Among the goods they made were Christmas tree decorations, hand-stamped wrapping paper, and hand-decorated cards.
Members of Girl Scout Troop 71644 provided babysitting for children while their parents shopped at the fair. There was also a table of donated items where these children could choose presents for their parents at no cost. The Girl Scouts helped the children with gift wrapping.
The organizers of the Artisans Fair had spread the word about the event through emails, networking, personal contacts, signs made by the Cultural District, and social media, as well as in The Bedford Citizen. Even with the inclement weather, many people showed up to join in the festivities.
The artists who participated were glad to see colleagues as well as to make new connections. When asked if they would be willing to participate if the fair were held again next year, most vendors answered in the affirmative.
A lot of credit goes to the Bedford Cultural District and the Gallery Team at First Parish for making this remarkable community event happen. There was a convergence of good feelings with attendees and vendors all seemingly glad to see friends and neighbors as well as finding gifts.
To see a map of the Bedford Cultural District, go to https://www.bedfordma.gov/437/Bedford-Cultural-District. Watch for more activities for artists in the coming year.
To find out more information about The Gallery@First Parish go to https://www.uubedford.org/community-life/gallery-exhibit.
Doris Smith is the new Arts and Cultural Reporter for The Citizen.