It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Handmade Arcade is this weekend!
Out of 250 applicants, a collection of 90 local and not-so-local crafters will converge to help attendees find the most unique indy gifts for the holiday season. Returning for their third year is our rust belt neighbor, Campfire Goods, from Akron, Ohio.
I recently spoke to Campfire roadie Andy Taray, who is excited to return to the Steel City for the event:
Handmade Arcade has such a cool vibe to because it has sort of a small town feel to it, yet its such a nice big event… I feel like the event has a large majority of its shoppers coming from within the city, as opposed to many of the other shows that have people flocking in from all over the place. So there is definitely a huge Pittsburgh vibe going on… which pretty much always results in some great stories for sure… and accents!
This is the sixth year for the highly anticipated event which creates buzz all year long. You can almost always hear someone talking about Handmade Arcade at any I Made It! Market or Sundae Market event.
Exclusive Early Birdie passes are being sold for $15 and pass holders will be able to shop from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. without the rest of the crowd. They’ll also receive a designer swag bag and other goodies. Only 150 Early Birdie passes will be sold. If you miss out on the Early Birdy pass, the first 100 shoppers through the door will receive a special swag bag.
Handmade Arcade 2008 featured an ad-hoc free workshop donated by AIR where patrons could create their own large scale screen print of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s front page on November 5, 2008, announcing the Obama presidency. I can’t wait to see what surprises are in store this year.
I think the best approach to taking in Handmade Arcade is to walk around the entire event once before pulling out your wallet. I like to see everything and consider every option before I even think about buying something. However at Handmade Arcade 2008, that little pear checkbook holder I spotted on my first go around was gone by the time I got back to the Get Felt Up! table. Thankfully, I was able to purchase it from their Etsy store a few days later. Get Felt Up! will be returning to Handmade Arcade this year.
If you can’t make it to Handmade Arcade 2009, most of the crafters have online stores that you can browse. The Handmade Arcade website has been updated with a directory of crafters with links to their websites.
For the traditional shopping experience, check out WildCard, located at 4209 Butler St. in Lawrenceville. WildCard features stationary, accessories, clothing and more all created by local and national crafters; several who will be showcased at Handmade Arcade, including Wren & Rita, Subu, Garbella and fresh popcorn. WildCard is open from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. most days. Rebecca Morris, owner of WildCard, recently said:
I have other crafters who don’t participate in the craft fairs, so the public may not see them anywhere else. I also carry some cardstock, decorative papers, ribbon by the yard and some other fun crafty stuff like cross stitch, embroidery and needle felting kits, so if people are inspired by some of the things they see at Handmade Arcade, they could try making their own cards. I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting things, so customers can expect to see something different every time.
Handmade Arcade is a sure to be a great place for holiday shopping and inspiration for the aspiring crafter. I hope to see you there!
Event photos credit Larry Rippel, 2008. Obama print photo credit Jennie Roth.