Strange Folk and fun crafts (Sept. 27-28)

September 23, 2008

O’Fallon, Ill., doesn’t seem like the heart of indie craft country, so I was in for a happy surprise at last year’s Strange Folk Festival.  It’s a crafts bazaar with attitude — you’ll find skull-adorned onesies next to crocheted caps next to beaded jewelry — and it draws 120 vendors to a wide-open park setting.  There’s music and food, but they’re there more to help shoppers keep up their energy levels than as attractions in their own right.  There’s also a section for kids, where they’ll learn to “upcycle” crafts of their own. And check out the alpacas, where kids can see the whole supply chain from animal to finished woolen product.

The one thing all the vendors have in common is their enthusiasm for hand-made goods; many of them will surprise you with their ingenuity in recycling old fabrics, jewels and other items. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday (Sept. 27) and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday (Sept. 28). We didn’t encounter huge crowds last year, but having said that, I do encourage you to shop early and start with the booths packed in under the park’s shelter, as traffic jams develop there even without a heavy crush of shoppers.

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