More than 300 artisans at Frankfort Fall Festival
By Carrie Napoleon For Sun-Times Media
Craft-lovers unite: Organizers expect to see as many as 250,000 visitors to this year's three-day Frankfort Fall Festival. | Supplied photo
Editor: John K. Ryan,
Design: Jennifer Frencl
John Doolin 708.633.6808
- Frankfort Fall Fest features vendors from across the country
- Frankfort Fall Fest among nations’ tops
- Spirit of “Carnivale” in winning poster for festival
- Volunteers make Frankfort Fall Festival go
- Road closures detailed for Frankfort Fall Festival
- Vital information about the Frankfort Fall Festival
- New area features artisans working their craft at festival
- Focus on musical variety at 2012 Frankfort Fall Fest
- Frankfort Fall Festival has deep history
- Longtime Frankfort volunteers to lead the parade
- Carnivale is the theme to this art-and-craft fesitval
- Lots of food to enjoy while checking out arts and crafts
The spirit of Carnivale will come alive during the 44th annual Frankfort Fall Festival.
More than 300 artisans and 30 civic groups will line the streets during the event hosted by the Frankfort Chamber of Commerce that kicks off Sept. 1 and runs through Labor Day weekend ending Sept. 3.
Cindy Heath, festival chair, said the Carnivale theme was chosen for the festive nature of the event, which combines artisans, food, live music and carnival rides to create an atmosphere where there is something for everyone.
“As you wander the streets you see everybody in downtown Frankfort having a good time. Visitors to the festival may see many people wearing masks and wearing beads,” Heath said.
One of the highlights of the three-day fest is the annual Labor Day parade. This year John and Judy Herder, longtime Frankfort residents and community activists, will be the parade grand marshals.
While the theme for the nationally recognized festival that drew more than 250,000 visitors in 2011 changes each year, the idea behind the event remains the same. It is a place where artisans from around the country can come to exhibit their wares.
The Frankfort Fall Festival has been named one of the top 10 artisan shows in the country by Sunshine Artist magazine. More than 500 artisans each year apply for the opportunity to be included among the about 300 who are selected. They travel from 32 different states to be part of the event. This year about 70 of those artisans will be new.
New dimension to fest
“We have a pretty successful package. We just tweak it each year,” said Cindy Heath, festival chair.
This year’s tweak is a new artisan demonstration area where six selected artisans will show off their skills in live public demonstrations throughout the event. Those artisans are: Jeffrey Jobe of Barking Dog Jewelry Design Studio from North Carolina; Nick Galati of Fire Cut Glass of Monee; Melissa Monroe of Melissa Z Monroe Pottery of Mokena; Branson Bennett of West Allis, Wisc., who will handcraft leather goods including purses, backpacks and other unique items; caricature artists Lucy and Paul Lu of Lombard, Ill.; and Michigan artist Ben Knapp, who will demonstrate his Big Birdie Golf game.
“I’m so excited to see these artisans work. I think it brings a new dimension to Frankfort Fall Festival,” Heath said.
All of the artisans at the festival are juried in and are only allowed if their items are 100 percent handmade. Heath said this year fair organizers also have paved and landscaped the Fra-Milco Cabinets parking lot area where some artisans and civic organizations are located.
In the past, the spot was not a preferred location for those assigned there, but this year landscaping and a walking path that will lead fest-goers to the site were added to make it a premier location.
“It will turn it from a hidden lot to a prime location,” Heath said.
The fest does not allow commercial vendors, such as car dealerships or home improvement businesses, to set up booths to promote their businesses.
“We try to keep the standards very high for artisans to participate,” she said
“It’s a hometown feel artisan show with high standards. We are very proud of the atmosphere created.”