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Thousands expected in Hillsboro

Staff writer

Hillsboro Arts and Craft Fair will return Sept. 18 after taking a year’s break to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 among the 35,000 to 40,000 visitors who typically attend.

This will be the festival’s 52nd year. Hours will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

Dana Friesen, a craft fair regular who owns Graphic Tee in Newton, said she looked forward to setting up her booth again. For Friesen and her husband, the fair has a dual draw.

“My husband is from Hillsboro, so he grew up going to it all the time,” Friesen said.

His father and stepmother still live in Hillsboro, which gives the family a chance to sneak in a visit with family and have ready child care available.

“We do shows all over the country, and one of the best things about doing shows is that everyone is so kind, so patient, and no one is in a hurry,” she said.

Doing business at a festival is nothing like doing business in the Newton store she operates.

“You can have a dozen storefronts, and it’s not like a festival,” she said. “I remember at one time our line was down and around the block. I thought ‘oh my gosh, we’re never going to get through this line.’”

Instead of customers becoming irritated with the wait, everyone enjoyed the experience of the show and no one complained about how long it took to get to the booth and make a purchase, Friesen said.

Rural Brookville resident Tobina Norris, who does business as Tobina Sewbina, said this would be her eighth year at a fair she now considers her “big kickoff” for fall craft fairs.

She sells children’s items like finger puppets, character masks, books, and book pillows.

“I embroider designs like book things and fun things on the front of the book pillows,” she said.

The size of the crowd that attends the fair and how far customers come to attend the fair are a big part of why Norris sets up a booth here.

“It’s always a great show, and it’s amazing the number of vendors and the talent that is represented at that show,” Norris said.

She also likes the fact that past customers come looking for her.

After the Hillsboro show, she will have two or three more shows back to back.

Hillsboro Arts and Crafts Fair director Cait Hall said 108 vendors had signed up for this year’s show so far.

Longtime favorites include Anita Abbot with Abbot’s Attic in Sunrise Beach, Missouri, and Joyce Chorad with Dakota Crafts, who comes from South Dakota.

New this year will be Chase Ausherman of The Modern Etch, Wichita; Olivia Conway of Conway and Co., Wichita; Devin Dagnebin of Primal Jerky, Hutchinson; Mary Kroupa of Kechi Bath Co., selling lotions, bath bombs and the like; and Kolton Hoppe with Hoppe’s Woodwork, Minneapolis.

The festival is downtown, with vendors set up along four blocks of Main St. and two blocks of Grand Ave. No games are offered at the fair, but food booths will offer an array of goodies.

“There will be everything from loaded nachos to Hawaiian bierocks, funnel cakes, Dale’s sausages on sandwiches, and roasted nuts,” Hall said.

Firefighters will sell biscuits and gravy for breakfast and hamburgers and hot dogs for lunch. Rhubarb Market will sell coffees and pastries, and Siebert Sweets will sell cotton candy and snow cones.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming people back to Hillsboro after last year’s cancellation, and looking forward to a successful year,” organizer Hall said.

Last modified Sept. 16, 2021

 

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