Judy Nilsen, of Old Bethpage, and Carole Grinthal, of Melville, have a strategy when it comes to craft fairs. Grinthal said they browse first, starting with booths around the edges and working their way in, and then they buy.
Grinthal and Nilsen were two of what organizers expected would be more than 4,000 shoppers at the 15th Annual Autumn Art & Craft Fair at Stony Brook University this weekend. More than 125 vendors, many from Long Island and some who had traveled from out of state, set up shop at the weekend event, hoping to entice buyers starting their holiday shopping.
“We go to every booth,” Grinthal said.
“It’s really a good place to come and buy something a little bit different, maybe a little unusual, for the holidays this year,” said Rachel Frislid, whose company, Preferred Promotions, of Sayville, organized the event.
Frislid said she feels passionately about the craft-fair business because, especially in a difficult economy, it is important to support local artisans. She said everything at the fair, with items that included everything from cooking supplies to fine jewelry, was hand crafted in the United States.
On Sunday, Nilsen and Grinthal said they were shopping for unique holiday gifts, something personal that they wouldn’t be able to find in a department store. Grinthal had picked up a themed wine bottle cover and Nilsen said she had her eye on a few things.
“We’re very discerning,” Nilsen said. “We’ll go back around now to buy, and all the vendors probably know us because we go to every fair.”
Nilsen and Grinthal recommended that shoppers looking for craft fairs check local listings for the weekend after Thanksgiving and the first weekend in December.
“Those are usually big ones,” Nilsen said.