Crafty Christmas: Holiday fair celebrates handmade goods

Local artists and makers are gearing up for a big holiday season. Showcasing many of them is the Detroit Urban Craft Fair on the first weekend of December.

Established by Handmade Detroit in 2005, the fair returns to take over its longtime home at the Drill Hall inside Detroit’s historic Masonic Temple, 500 Temple St., on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Pricing ranges from $2 to $10 at the door.

The event is organized by Handmade Detroit, led by founders Carey Gustafson and Bethany Nixon, who are themselves small business owners. Gustafson runs Glass Action in Oak Park, and Nixon is owner of Reware Vintage (her first brick-and-mortar location last fall in downtown Berkley). 

The Handmade Detroit team, led by founders Bethany Nixon (left to right) and Carey Gustafson are ready to bring back Detroit Urban Craft Fair this year at the Masonic Temple. Photo: Doug Coombe.

“The quality and enthusiasm of our Detroit Urban Craft Fair vendors is unmatched,” says Gustafson. “We’ve created a tradition. Expect a party atmosphere punctuated by live art demonstrations, make-and-take workshops, exciting giveaways and of course it’s all set to a soundtrack of holiday music by DJ Dave Lawson. Our careful jury selections and efforts to keep the fair at the same amazing place our legacy shoppers know just how and where to find us.”

Detroit Urban Craft Fair brings together more than 100 juried vendors each year. This year, 30% of those vendors are new to the event, and all are selected based on originality, creativity, and price point. Organizers say shoppers will find a wide array of traditional handicrafts, from vintage jewelry and clothing to handmade home décor, bath and body products to sweet treats.

“We love to promote small businesses, talented makers and to keep money moving around locally to support people in the arts,” said Gustafson. “Our voting process at Detroit Urban Craft Fair really looks closely at price-points. We want shoppers to know when they bring their shopping lists they can expect to go home with a dozen or more perfect gifts, not just two or three.”

Friday’s opening night activities gives visitors a first chance to shop Detroit Urban Craft Fair as well as sample Ann Arbor-based Wonderland Cookies, make fuzzy felt crafts with Cool Critters, and sip cocktails at a cash bar. A vendor raffle will offer a curated collection of new work by DUCF makers.

Alexandra Clark's Bon Bon Bon will be bringing chocolate delights to this year's event. Photo: Joe Powers.

Some of the vendors scheduled include illustrations and prints by Sloe Gin Fizz by Nicole Ray or Arsenal Handicraft, Detroit-inspired gifts and apparel by Detroit GT, and handmade sweet treats by Bon Bon Bon. Complimentary swag bags will be handed out to the first 50 shoppers on Saturday morning. Delectabowl will be serving up food all weekend long and Gooseneck Coffee Company of Plymouth, will keep visitors caffeinated.

Families are especially encouraged to visit Saturdays and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. to enjoy kid-friendly craft activities hosted by AR Workshop and fewer crowds.

Parking lots are available around the venue and organizers recommend seeking out street parking, carpooling, taking the Q-Line from Midtown. 

The 2022 Detroit Urban Craft Fair runs 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3 and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4 at the Masonic Temple in Detroit. Pricing ranges from $2-$10 at the door.

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