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Some of you are out there screeching into the line at your favorite coffee shop because Pumpkin Spice Whatever is on the menu, but my favorite harbinger of autumn is opening day of craft fair weekend in Northwest Arkansas. The Ozarks have long-been associated with traditional arts and crafts and there’s a rich history among locals of skills passed down through families including woodworking, quilting, weaving, various methods of preserving foods, and all manner of music-making. Make your way to a craft show in Northwest Arkansas this fall, and you’re likely to run into people making and/or selling all of these things. Also, funnel cakes!
This list is primarily populated with events that happen on the traditional Craft Fair Weekend – October 17-20 – but a few shows made the list that occur on different dates just because they’re too good to exclude. Get your planner and washi tape ready, here we go:
The Bella Vista Arts & Crafts Festival
1991 Forest Hills Blvd., Bella Vista
This show is organized by the Village Art Club, a non-profit that supports Bella Vista artists and local venues like the Wishing Spring Gallery. Shoppers will find several large tents full of beautiful works of art in a wide assortment of mediums, as well as individual vendor tents set up for easy browsing. This is one of a handful of juried fairs on the list – meaning vendors have to apply and be accepted to the show based purely on artistic merit. You’ll find fine art, pottery, sculpture, quilts, jewelry, and everything in between here. There’s also plenty of fair food on site to keep up your energy as you shop.
Frisco Station Mall Arts & Crafts Festival
Frisco Station Mall | Rogers
This is a great place to shop for gifts for the upcoming holidays. There are handmade items here, but they are mixed in with a healthy number of boutique items like Lularoe clothing and Scentsy Candles. Since it’s located inside the mall, you don’t have to worry about weather ruining your experience. Also, free parking, indoor bathrooms and there’s an Andy’s Custard in nearby!
HeART of Rogers Craft Fair (Two Locations)
Haas Hall Academy & First United Methodist Church | Rogers
The fifth annual HeART of Rogers Crafts Fair will be held inside two historic venues this year: The recently-restored Historic Lane Hotel (now home to Haas Hall Academy) and the Fellowship Hall at FUMC. The church will also be hosting tours of its beautiful antique stained-glass sanctuary. (If you shop as intensely as I do, you’ll welcome a moment of quiet and reflection before heading back into the fray.) Approximately 50 vendors will be on hand, and while there’s nothing on the website about food for sale, I’m guessing there will be some kind of refreshments available. And anyway, the locations are in historic downtown Rogers, so several outstanding local eateries and a brand new Onyx Coffee Lab are within walking distance.
It’s Fall Y’all Craft Fair
Benton County Fairgrounds | Bentonville
This show is another one that combines the work of local artisans with small-business owners who will be selling items from their stores. They also promise giveaways and food available (Yoder’s Fried Pies, y’all!) each of the four days of shopping.
Ozark Regional Arts & Crafts Fairs (Two Locations)
October 17-19 | Washington County Fairgrounds | Fayetteville
October 18-19 | Northwest Arkansas Convention Center | Springdale
These shows are celebrating 19 years in Northwest Arkansas. Shoppers will find a wide range of items for sale at these shows, from handmade items to boutique items. If you’re looking for strictly handmade, this is not the show for you, but there are plenty of opportunities to satisfy your gift list and find a few things for yourself as well. At the show in Springdale, the parking is free but is usually in high demand, so it’s a good idea to drop off anyone who can’t walk far at the curb before finding a spot.
Sharp’s Show of War Eagle
War Eagle Mill | Rogers
Sharp’s Show is the craft fair “on the other side of the bridge” at War Eagle Mill. Between their show and War Eagle, you really should just make plans to spend a day at the Mill with a break for lunch at the restaurant upstairs. There are plenty of handmade items here, as well as booths full of antiques and some mass-produced-but-still-unique items to satisfy every budget and aesthetic. Food trucks and a place to sit a while are available if you have some folks with you who enjoy people-watching more than shopping.
Spanker Creek Farm Arts & Crafts Festival
Spanker Creek Farm | Bella Vista
This is an outdoor event located in a lovely pastoral spot in southern Bella Vista. It’s a great addition to your craft show adventures located on the route between the shows at War Eagle Mill and the Bella Vista Arts & Crafts Festival. When the season cooperates, the hills surrounding the property are painted with beautiful vistas as the leaves turn. This is also one of the fairs that features local musicians offering entertainment you as your browse, which may be worth the price of admission in and of itself.
Vintage Market Days
Benton County Fairgrounds | Bentonville
This show is produced by a company that hosts vintage shows around the region and is worth adding to your list even though it doesn’t occur on the traditional “craft show weekend”. It is not strictly a “craft show”, but like others on our list, it includes boutique and decorating items that are not handmade. That said, it boasts one of the most consistent and attractive aesthetics of any show in the area. Even the photos they share on their social media channels are intentionally filtered to provide an escape into the interiors we covet when we flip through decorating magazines like Magnolia and scroll Pinterest. That would help explain why they’ve been listed in Country Living as one of the “7 Flea Markets & Barn Sales You Won’t Want to Miss”.
War Eagle Fair
War Eagle Mill | Rogers
When this fair was launched in 1954 it provided a place for artisans and makers to sell their wares to the public in an area that wasn’t full of retail options. Today, they adhere to the same ideals they began with, and welcome approximately 250 juried makers for the three-day show that welcomes tens of thousands of visitors each year. As the granddaddy of craft fairs in the Ozarks, it provides the foundation for the weekend’s fame as “Craft Show Weekend” in the region. You’ll find holiday decorating, furniture, pottery, jewelry, handmade soaps, and so much more I can’t list it all. This is also the place to make sure you get your annual allotment of kettle corn, turkey legs and funnel cakes. Bring a cart and a quilt and have a picnic on the banks of creek for the full War Eagle experience.
NWA Boutique Show
NEW LOCATION! John Q. Hammons Convention Center | Rogers
Scheduled to coincide with Black Friday the weekend after Thanksgiving, this show has all the home décor, boutique and handmade clothing, gourmet food, children’s items and handmade crafts you could possibly want under one roof. There is always a great holiday vibe in the air here, and vendors specifically appeal to shoppers’ holiday gift-buying needs. This year finds them trying out a new location in Rogers, presumably because they needed more space. The Pinnacle Promenade Mall and tons of food options are just down the street, so grab some friends and make a day of it.
NWA Holiday Market
NWA Convention Center | Springdale
As the name suggests, this show is focused on the winter holidays, offering a wide variety of items to appeal to all kinds of shoppers and everyone on your gift list. Santa makes an appearance as well, so bring the kiddos.
If you’re looking to knock a few things off your holiday gift list, or to just take in the rich variety of creative folks making creative things on a lovely fall weekend, this list will definitely give you a good head start. If you have any to add, feel free to leave the details in comments – there’s always room for another craft fair.
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