Just three years ago, members of Bethany Beach’s Cultural and Historical Affairs Committee were venturing into unknown territory, organizing the group’s first craft show.
For 2007’s third annual Seaside Craft Show, set for Saturday, June 2, CHAC and the Seaside Craft Show Committee are planning to continue the success of the young event, adding many new crafters and expanding the physical bounds of the show so that even more fine crafts will be on offer to local craft lovers and the visitors who have begun to add the annual June show on the boardwalk to their calendars.
“The number has almost doubled since two years ago,” said Mary Headman, one of the members of the Seaside Craft Show Committee. “We’ll have about 115 booths, including some non-profits.”
This year, quilting appears to be a growing theme among the handful of non-profit groups that will be taking part in the Seaside Craft Show. Both the Delmarvelous Quilters and the St. Ann’s Quilters will have their work on display on Saturday.
Alongside them, and more than 100 professional crafters, will be the Bethany Town Cats; the Bethany Beach Fourth of July Parade Committee, which will be selling the annual commemorative shirts that help fund the parade; the Interfaith Mission, selling house pins; Lions Club members, who will be selling tickets for their annual car raffle; and the Friends of the South Coastal Library, who will be selling tickets to the annual late-July Beach and Bay Cottage Tour fund-raiser for the library, as well as raffle tickets for the tour’s associated drawings.
Along with the expanding number of professional crafters and non-profit participation, Headman said the variety of crafts on offer at the Seaside Craft Show has continued to expand.
There will be variations on photography, decorative painting (on wood, glass and more), handmade furniture, metal work, glass, jewelry, fiber and leather goods, pottery, wearable art, soft sculpture, wooden toys and much more.
Headman said the previous success of the craft show committee’s jury process has allowed them to pre-screen and invite back the best of the artists from each of the two previous years.
“We do allow those back in that we feel have had a good display and whose product has measured up to what they submitted,” she said. “They do not need to go through the jury again.”
In addition to those cream-of-the-crop crafters, Headman said, “There were many new people” who applied to join the craft show vendors for 2007. They each submitted information about their craft, as well as slides or samples that the show’s jury could review for quality — with the emphasis on “fine” crafts that will draw big crowds Saturday on the Bethany Beach boardwalk and its environs.
The show area is expanding this year, including not only the boardwalk, the new bandstand and the beachside street end at Garfield Parkway but also extending to the south at Parkwood Street, where that street end will allow those perusing the selection of crafts on the boardwalk to continue into another large area that Headman said was specifically needed to meet the demand for larger craft booths.
“We’ve also expanded south where the boardwalk ends, on Parkwood Street. We have 12 more crafters set up down there,” Headman said. “We always have a lot more requests for the 10-by-10-(foot) spaces,” she explained.
The larger spaces allow the craft vendors to not only display more of their wares but even, in some cases, to allow visitors to the show to step inside their booths to see it all. Some vendors also take the extra space to demonstrate their crafts while customers watch and peruse their other work.
Along the way, they can all be entertained by this year’s repeat musical performers, the Back Bay Strummers, who will again play throughout the show’s 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. run. Refreshments will be available from the conveniently located boardwalk vendors and neighboring restaurants.
While the show will start at 10 a.m., members of the committee and other volunteers will be up even brighter and earlier than that, preparing the areas and marking out the spaces for the craft booths.
Their biggest hopes, along with some recuperation time after the show, will be for good weather.
“I hope our weather is like Memorial Day weekend,” Headman said. “How lucky we would be to have weather like that two weekends in a row.”
The warm temperatures and clear skies of last weekend were topped with a chance of thunderstorms that only briefly materialized late on Saturday afternoon. With the show set to take place on this Saturday, the forecast as of mid-week looked strikingly similar to the previous one: temperatures in the mid-80s for a high, with a modest chance of thunderstorms.
That’s a contrast to 2006, when the craft show was plagued with a cool, drizzly day that didn’t quite allow it to shine at full glory as crowds dodged the showers.
“The first two years were less than spectacular in terms of weather,” Headman agreed. “But many of the crafters stuck with it last year. Those that were able to stay with it did very well,” she emphasized.
After that, it is understandable that Headman is a bit leery of what impact the weather might have on the 2007 show. “I’ve kind of avoided looking at it,” she said of this weekend’s forecast.
“We’re looking forward to good weather, but we’ll always be positive,” Headman emphasized. She has reason to be positive.
“The show goes on rain or shine,” she noted. “A lot of people didn’t know that last year.”
Headman said the committee had worked in 2007 to make sure that everyone knows that there is no rain date for the Seaside Craft Show, so no one will miss out in waiting for the weather to cooperate. The effort to get it organized and moving each first Saturday in June is massive, involving the town’s public works staff and police, as well as the volunteers and vendors.
“It’s hard to tie up the town for two days in a row,” Headman said of the notion of a rain date. Instead, vendors will come prepared for whatever the weather might bring and merely cross their fingers that Mother Nature obliges, which looks like it might be the case.
The result will be more than 100 booths full of unique crafts, jewelry, decorative items and more, all arrayed across the Bethany Beach boardwalk on Saturday, as one of the highlights of the town’s summer season.