Artisans and crafters from around the country are headed to the Frankfort Fall Festival over Labor Day Weekend.
While the Labor Day Weekend event begins with at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 30 in the entertainment tent on Kansas Street in downtown Frankfort, the artisans will be fast at work, setting up their wares on Friday night and early Saturday morning.
The artisan booths will be open to the
public from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept.
They'll be filling up the downtown streets with a variety of unique wares, said vendor chairperson Sam (Sandra) Schoeler.
Because the festival accepts only juried artisans, the festival has an exceptional reputation, she said. "We're No. 1 in Illinois and No. 1 in the Midwest."
There are 360 spaces, but some have two or three spots."
"Everything here is supposed to be handmade," Schoeler added. A rather demanding application process is completed to assure that everything sold at the festival is handmade. Each of the applicants have to submit photos showing the layout of the booth, examples of the wares being sold and photos of the work in progress.
Schoeler even wants to see what the applicant's private work space looks like. It's all done to maintain the integrity of the festival, she said.
The application process doesn't seem to keep away a flood of vendor applications. The festival committee starts out with between 500-700 applications, which get narrowed down to around 300.
There are certainly some regulars, such as the retired fireman from Fairland, IN who sells refurbished antique fire extinguishers. "They're old fire extinguishers from the 1900s. He refurbishes them and refills them. Some people make them into lamps."
This year, Schoeler is excited about a woman who makes Tiffany-looking lamps from gourds. The vendors offer everything from woodworking projects to fashion designs and from honey to hand-crafted jewelry.
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