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Best Holiday Craft Fairs in New England

Best Holiday Craft Fairs in New England
4 votes, 4.25 avg. rating (83% score)

Vintage ChristmasHoliday craft fairs fill the weekends between Halloween and Christmas at churches, community centers, schools, and function halls all across New England. Offering food (for snacking and giving), handmade gift items, and a healthy dose of holiday cheer, they are often one of the earliest signs of the approaching holiday season.

Why not visit one (or two) this year and pick up a thoughtful gift, add to your own holiday decoration collection, or use the browsing experience to fuel your own creative energy? Here are our picks for the best holiday craft fairs in New England, with selections for each state. Let us know if we missed your favorite, and be sure to check the Events section in your local newspaper or community bulletin boards to see what holiday craft fairs are taking place in your own neighborhood!

***Dates have been updated for 2013***

BEST CONNECTICUT HOLIDAY CRAFT FAIRS

November 1-3: American Artisan Show
A national roster talented artisans converge for this annual juried event. Emphasizing high-quality traditional items–tableware from ASL Pewter, scissor cuttings from Marie Helene Grabman–rather than contemporary crafts, though you’ll also find gorgeous modern wares.
Wilton Historical Society, 224 Danbury Road, Wilton. 845-876-0616; wiltoncraftsmanshow.com

November 19-20: CraftWestport
Nearing its 40th year, this annual juried crafts bonanza features more than 160 metal, fiber, wood, paper, and clay artisans, with all admissions net profits to benefit local charities. The contemporary jewelry by artists such as Nikki Bates and Rina Young are especially good.
Staples High School, 70 North Ave., Westport. 800-649-0279, 845-331-7900; artrider.com/WPT11.html

BEST MAINE HOLIDAY CRAFT FAIRS

November 8-9: The Gifted Hand
You’ll find a decidedly contemporary bent, with more than 60 local artists, many of them from the next generation of twenty-something crafters. While only founded in 2005, it’s already a Maine tradition.
Ramada Inn (Tennis Court Area), 215 High St., Ellsworth. 207-664-2404; giftedhandshow.com

December 7-8: United Maine Craftsmen Holiday Arts & Crafts Show
Some 95 local artisans in varied media: fiber, silver, sea glass, clay, and cookie dough (there’s food, too) at this annual event with free gift-wrapping and hourly door prize.
Sullivan Gym, University of Southern Maine, 66 Falmouth St., Portland. 207-621-2818; unitedmainecraftsmen.com

BEST MASSACHUSETTS HOLIDAY CRAFT FAIRS

November 15-17: Old Deerfield Christmas Sampler Craft Fair
More than 330 booths feature local, regional, and national artists. Now in its 25th year, this show offers a wide selection of traditional crafts, with plenty of holiday decorations–carved Santas, ornaments, wreaths, and so on–on hand. Don’t miss the circa-1897 miniature Christmas village.
Better Living Center, Eastern States Exposition, 1305 Memorial Ave., West Springfield. 413-774-7476; deerfield-craft.org

December 6-8, 13-15, 18-23: Harvard Square Holiday Craft Fair
Celebrating nearly 30 years, this holiday fair at the First Parish Cambridge lures tourists and locals alike throughout the month of December from its prime location just steps from the MBTA. Inside: an underground bazaar, a riot of Indian textiles, painted silk, fused glass, and pottery, among some 40 stalls. There are stunning Japanese-inspired woodblock prints by Matt Brown, Arts & Crafts-style tiles by Lynne and Richie Bittner, and fiesta-colored ceramics by James Guggina.
First Parish Unitarian Church, Church St. and Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge. harvardsquareholidayfair.com

December 6-8: CraftBoston Holiday
The Society of Arts & Crafts was founded in 1897, the first American organization of its kind, which in turn organized the first formal crafts exhibition on these shores. Now, more than 100 years later, it’s still running our region’s granddaddy holiday event, with 176 artists, a craft book seller, and informational booths promoting non-profit craft organizations and schools. Such prestige means high quality and generally higher prices, though SAC does highlight items under $100.
Boston Center for the Arts Cyclorama, 539 Tremont St., Boston. 617-266-1810; societyofcrafts.org

BEST NEW HAMPSHIRE HOLIDAY CRAFT FAIRS

November 15-17: New England Holiday Craft and Specialty Food Fair
This annual show, started in 1995, takes a something-for-everyone approach, with more than 200 artisans in categories from angels to wreaths to gourmet foods, including dip and bread mixes.
Rockingham Park Racetrack, Rockingham Park Blvd., Salem. 603-332-2616; castleberryfairs.com

December 7-8: New England Holiday Craft Spectacular
Celebrating more than 10 years, this craft “spectacular” features jewelry, glass, candles, sports-themed gifts, art, photography, food, and more.
Rockingham Park Racetrack, Rockingham Park Blvd., Salem. 603-332-2616; castleberryfairs.com

BEST RHODE ISLAND HOLIDAY CRAFT FAIR

December 6-8, 13-15: Foundry Artists Association Holiday Show
For three decades, this show has selected wares from an impressive roster of artisans. Handmade items for sale include paintings, photos, jewelry, sculpture, textiles, ceramics, clothing, and accessories like appliqued handbags made with vintage ephemera by Blue Maya. Of course, it helps to have all those RISD grads in your backyard. Includes a silent auction.
Pawtucket Armory Center for the Arts, 172 Exchange St., Pawtucket. foundryshow.com

BEST VERMONT HOLIDAY CRAFT FAIRS

November 23: Queen City Craft Bazaar
Another indie/Etsy-style gathering, this fair features more than 25 artists, mostly local, working in all kinds of media: garlands and envelopes made from old maps and sheet music by recycle moe, nature-inspired screen printed tees from husband and wife team New Duds. It’s a fun, funky celebration of homespun creativity.
ArtsRiot, 400 Pine Street, Burlington. queencitycraft.com

November 29 – December 1: Putney Craft Tour
An open-studios southeastern Vermont event for 35 years, with nearly 30 noteworthy artisans to visit, including Arts & Crafts-inspired stained glass by Julia Brandis and custom decorative tiles by Ewald/O’Toole. Printable map available online.
802-387-4032; putneycrafts.com

Please Note: This article was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

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