The South Coastal Delaware AARP chapter will put on the Fifth Annual Artisans Fair at the Millville Fire Hall on Memorial Day weekend this year. On Saturday, May 26, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., 40 artists and crafters throughout the Delmarva region and spanning four states will bring their talents to Millville, with funding efforts raising scholarship money for Indian River High School and Delaware Tech students.
“For me, the best part of the Artisans Fair is that, while we can spotlight these local artists, we’re able to raise money for local students, as well,” said Marilyn Appel, who has helped organize the event for the past several years. “The fair is constantly getting bigger and better every year, and we have a lot going on, so there’s something for everybody.”
More than 30 items from participating artists and crafters have already been donated to the Artisans Fair’s “Chinese” auction. There will also be raffles and 50/50 drawings, along with the opportunity to browse and buy from the participating artisans.
“People really have a good opportunity to win something,” said Appel. “We get some new faces each year, but we have a lot of the same favorites returning every year, too. And people make it a Memorial Day tradition to come out on that Saturday before.”
In 2007, the South Coastal Delaware AARP chapter began organizing funds for local high school students. This year, two $1,500 will be presented to two Indian River High School students, but the local chapter wanted to do a little more.
“The artisans fair has been very rewarding,” said the fair’s head coordinator, Ione Phillips. “Three-fourths of our artists come back every year, which is a very good testimonial. The show always has something new, and this year we wanted to do even more.”
This year, for the first time, the Millville Artisans Fair will provide $1,000 to an adult student (25 or older) enrolled at Delaware Tech.
“It’s something new that we’re doing this year,” said Phillips. “We’re very glad that we can help out the local students at Indian River, but we wanted to do a little more, too.”
To help with the fundraising efforts, the fair and auction help assemble quite a crowd on the holiday weekend, but there’s another big draw, as well.
“The bake sale at our Artisans Fair is one of the biggest ones you’ll find,” Phillips said, proudly. “We have nearly 500 members in our chapter, and we get a lot of them to provide in the bake sale. If you’re entertaining over the holiday weekend, the bake sale is a great place to pick up desserts for your family and friends.”
Home-baked goods from members of the AARP chapter, as well as professionally-made desserts from area bakeries will be available during the bake sale at the Artisans Fair. For the first time, gelato will be available at this year’s show, too.
Artists and crafters involved in the fair run the gamut of media, from painters, sculptors and photography to jewelers and more.
“We have so many different types of artisans this year,” Phillips explained. “We have one talented woman who crafts birdhouses out of gourds. There’s another who creates these great dioramas.”
While the Millville Artisans Fair is not a juried show, it is invitation-only for the participating artists.
“We have a very dedicated team of chapter members,” Phillips noted, “and they do a great job selecting the artists who participate. It keeps the quality at very high standards, and the guests in attendance really seem to like it. We really try to allow people to come back as often as they want, but we like getting new faces in there, too.”
Leading up to the Millville Artisans Fair, pick up the Coastal Point each week for exclusive interviews and previews with participating artists. For more information about the fair, including how to volunteer, contact Ione Phillips at (302) 539-2172.