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Arts and Crafts Fair 'takes a city'

Staff writer

The third Saturday in September means Arts and Crafts Fair in Hillsboro, as it has for the past 41 years.

Carol Breese has been involved since the beginning, when the fair was created to feature local artists’ work. Her mother, Emma Flaming, painted, and Breese wanted her to have an opportunity to showcase her art.

“She displayed her artwork for 20-some years,” Breese said.

But in the intervening decades, Arts and Crafts Fair has changed and grown. This year’s event will feature about 300 exhibitors and almost 30 food vendors.

The fair has grown so large that an eight-person committee meets throughout the year to organize everything.

“We plan all year,” said Marcella Mohn, assistant fair director.

The committee has already printed brochures for 2011, she said. Mohn volunteered after the 13th fair to help keep it going.

The committee has done a lot of fine-tuning in the past decade, but that requires more time to plan. One such change has been allowing vendors to set up the night before the fair — a change that has been popular with vendors, Breese said.

Publicity began with newspapers. Over time the fair has expanded its advertising reach to arts and crafts magazines, radio, and television. The cumulative effect of decades of advertising now attracts thousands of visitors to the fair.

Among the committee’s concerns are space for vendors, publicity to attract exhibitors and buyers, trash removal, security, bathrooms, and food and drink.

Not including exhibitors and food vendors, the fair requires 150 people or more to set up, clean up, and keep the event running smoothly, Breese said.

Cooperation from city government and downtown businesses is essential to the smooth operation of the fair, Mohn said.

“It really takes the whole city,” she said.

Last modified Sept. 8, 2010

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