Celebrating a tradition of the arts in Bennington

After two successful years in Bennington, the Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival is once again returning to Camelot Village in Bennington July 31, August 1 & 2. 150 artists and artisans will display and sell their own handcrafted creations. The artists and artisans will be housed in Camelot style tents. In addition to the arts and crafts, there will be a Kids Zone, a food court, music, comic juggling, and Vermont Craft Beers.

Bennington was without a major craft show since the American Crafts Council departed Mount Anthony High School in 1972. In 2013 Craftproducers brought its famous Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival to Bennington. This event had been held at Hildene in Manchester for nearly 30 years. When Hildene announced that its Meadows would be converted into agricultural pasture land, Craftproducers was left without a venue for its summer show as well as the Manchester Fall Art and Craft Festival. As Necessity is often the Mother of Invention, Craftproducers listened to the overtures of the Bennington community and decided to move the Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival there. Manchester’s loss became Bennington’s gain. Craftproducers Fall Manchester event was successfully moved to The Practice Tee at Riley Rink in 2013.

Now in its third year in Bennington, word has gotten out among the artists and artisans. “Bennington is back!” Seemingly, memories of the former craft show in Bennington remain vividly alive. Even after 40 years the craft community still remembers the original craft market. The public has come out in droves and avidly bought an abundance of craftworks. With such stellar sales, the grapevine spread the news. While the Festival has enjoyed an auspicious start, unless there is continued public support, the exhibitors will turn to more lucrative shows in larger markets.
Many Bennington organizations are helping to create Bennington Arts Weekend, built around the Art/Craft Festival. On Friday July 31, Better Bennington Corporation has many activities planned. Under the umbrella of Bennington Arts Weekend, festivities will take place all around downtown Friday evening, July 31. Several galleries, the Masonic Temple, and the Village Chocolate Shoppe will take part. On Saturday there will be a Craft of Home Brewing Competition at Four Corners North at the intersection of County and North Streets from noon until 4PM. A free shuttle bus will run between the Art/Craft Festival and the Competition during those hours. Other Bennington Arts Weekend events will be announced before July 18.

The Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival is hosted at Camelot Village, also home of the Southern Vermont Garlic Festival. Camelot Village is worth a visit on its own. It is a sprawling multi-leveled barn full of antiques, collectibles, and furniture. The Festival is located on their lawns and pathways. There is a lovely food court under the shade of tall maple trees where picnic tables are available. A dining tent with tables and chairs provides shelter for eating lunch and listening to the live music. There is a different musical act daily.

What’s a Festival without great food? This one will deliver delicious choices: falafel, chicken wraps, steak sandwiches, Chinese dumplings, sesame noodles, Greek salad, sausage, pepper, and onion sandwiches, French fries, espresso and lattes, lemonade, ice cream, hamburgers and hot dogs, and ramen soup. An assortment of Vermont craft beers will be served as well as a selection of summertime wines.

The Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival will be held July 31, August 1 & 2 at Camelot Village, 66 Colgate Heights, on Route 9, a little over a mile west of the Intersection of Routes 7 and 9 in downtown Bennington. The Festival is open 10-5 on Friday and Saturday and 10-4 on Sunday. Adult admission is $8 and children are free. Rain or shine- under tents. No dogs, please. For more information and the latest details, visit www.craftproducers.com

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