If you would have told us at our (February) 2020 10th Annual Unglued: Craft Fest that in early 2021 we’d be hosting the 11th Fest in a super spread out, half-the-vendors, face masked, sanitizing pandemic world we would have dropped our hot glue guns right into our naive early-2020 morning coffees in shock and awe. But now we are here for it! And look at how beautiful it turned out thanks to West Acres Mall pivoting right with us to make the 11th Fest one for the (sanitized) books! (And Fest photographer M. Schleif Photography!).
Story time: around the end of pandemic summer 2020 we started thinking about said Annual Craft Fest and reached out to our favorite Plains Art Museum that has hosted the Fest the past 9 years. We agreed that we couldn’t picture a situation any time soon (including early 2021) that we could host a full blown Fest in-person, but would find ways to either do it fully virtually or still collaborate for sure on virtual workshops. THEN we remembered having our Holiday Pop Up Shop kiosk at West Acres back in 2016 and thought just maybe we could look at doing this event at a big beautiful space that allowed for a socially distanced, spread out (masked) Fest depending on pandemic situations! And they were here for it!
So 2 weeks ago on March 12-13, 2021 the 11th Annual Unglued: Craft Fest took place with 45 vendors at West Acres Mall, a huge pile of all-virtual workshops and demos, and a full Virtual Fest day with 55 makers on March 14!
Attendees were greeted in the Food Court by our adorable info booth thanks to Folkways, where we had the most colorful Fest bags ever screenprinted by Amanda Heidt of the Plains Art Museum Hannaher’s Print Studio. This year the “goody bag” style tote that attendees could purchase included a bunch of Fest-specific swag. Then grab a map and get to shopping this year’s crazy talented Fest makers and artists (all with free admission all weekend!).
And since we are indeed still in a Covid-world attendees and vendors were required to wear masks, social distance from others not in their “pod,” sanitize at booths while shopping, and ultimately do their shopping of Fest makers and then head home to experience all the virtual crafty fun!
Our makers were spread out throughout 4 main mall hallways with plenty of space between each and showcased their handcrafted wares Friday evening and Saturday all day! It had been a looooong time since most of them had been able to sell in-person and they were absolutely blown away by the support received by all of you throughout the weekend!
Friday evening had a fun party vibe thanks to DJ AP spinning from the cactus garden in Buffalo Court and got pumped through the mall sound system!
And Saturday we had the sweet tunes of local musicians Hot Lunch in the Aquarium Court over…lunch, of course!
Booths represented crazy talent and creativity to be discovered by attendees all weekend. Every year we are just so impressed by what is showcased and for attendees to shop their crafty hearts out. This year brought about makers who started their business during Covid while quarantining to makers who had really grown into all kinds of new products while stuck at home!