With the warm weather this weekend, vendors and organizers of the Craneway Craft Fair, Summer Edition have much to be excited about. Hosted this Saturday August 13 by Fellowship of The Craft, the weekend summer event will feature over 150 artists, artisans and craftspeople.
Speaking on behalf of Fellowship of the Craft, Niamh Lyonhart noted. “We are a small team of artists and creatives who work to put on this fair twice per year.” Founded in 1970 as the KPFA Craft Fair, for 50 years, the winter fair served as the largest off-air fundraiser for Berkeley’s KPFA radio. Over the decades, this craft fair has become a Bay Area cultural institution.
The Craneway Craft Fair, overall is now a biannual, weekend-long marketplace. Featuring more than 200 diverse exhibitors, the Craft Fair includes both master artisans and emerging newcomers. Artists and craftspeople are a vital part of our local, small business community, and craft fairs like ours provide an opportunity for them to showcase their work to the public.
“We had our first Summer Edition last summer as an outdoor fair,” said Lyonhart. “Because, we didn’t know when we’d be able to hold indoor events again. We’ve been wanting to hold a summer fair since taking over in 2018, she added. And, last summer gave us the opportunity to try it out.”
Pointing out the distinction between the two and providing a bit more background info Lyonhart explained. “There was a summer fair years ago that was discontinued long before we took over, she said. And, folks were excited to hear we were bringing it back! Our Fall fair is a ticketed benefit for KPFA radio, but the Summer Edition is free!”
With rising costs and inflation, free admission is vital in attracting visitors/customers. As Lyonhart emphasized. “We provide an opportunity for artists & craftspeople to present their work to the public, and we believe strongly that it’s important to continue this tradition.”
And, like any venue in these unprecedented times of COVID-19, Lyonhart said. “Holding any kind of event these days is complicated, but fairs like ours are a vital part of the small business economy.”
According to Forbes and the Small Business Administration, local and small business accounts for 44 percent of the annual income nationwide. According to the United States Census Bureau, the annual small business revenue can range from about $1 million to as much as $44 million, depending upon the sector and demand. In California a small business is defined as a company with less than 100 employees.
It’s important to note that most small businesses, especially those that make artisan crafts, like those at Craneway are mostly sole proprietorships. One who knows this well is Caryl Brandes of Caryl B Personal Care Products. She will be participating in the craft fair this weekend.
For the past decade Brandes has been participating in local pop-up sale markets, festivals and craft fairs. The commitment required to succeed in such venues is strong and what she and other artisans like her offer is exceptional quality.
Brandes is accustomed to the unexpected and to occasional setbacks as she said. “Because of Covid, the dates changed.” Yet, considering the Craneway Craft Fair, Summer Edition as an ideal opportunity, she said. “This is a curated show so the quality of vendors is high. And, I love the venue – a large, airy building with great food offered by a few restaurants.”
Taking place at the historic Craneway Pavilion this Saturday and Sunday, August 13 and 14, the pavilion is located at 1414 Harbour Way South, in Richmond, CA.
Looking forward to the weekend, Brandes has participated in the Craneway previously. She anticipates a good turn out as she said. “The attendees are fun. They are people who are looking for something different, and are out to have a fun day.”
“You can also take the ferry, to the pavilion, said Brandes, it is by the ‘Rosie the Riveter’ National Historic Park & Museum.” To reiterate, Admission to the Craneway Crafts Fair, Summer Edition is free as is the free onsite parking. “It is plentiful,” noted Lyonhart. Bicycle parking is located on the east side of the building.
Public Transit is available. Take BART- Bay Area Rapid Transit to the Richmond Station and then the AC Transit #74 bus from the Richmond BART Station to Ford Point. This is approximately a 2.3 mile, 10 minute ride. Doors open at 10 AM. For more details visit The Craneway Craft Fair website.