Creativity and history meet at the Simcoe County Quilt, Rug, and Craft Fair. The annual event brings all the needle arts guilds together under one roof along with artisans from SCACA (Simcoe County Arts & Crafts Association), for a show and sale, Sept. 20-22.
“All of the items are beautiful from all the guilds,” said Shaughna Crew, events programmer, Simcoe County Museum. “It’s just incredible. I love this event.”
The fair is one of the oldest and longest-running events in the county. It began in Midland, in 1949, as a way of helping the town celebrate100 years. SCACA showcased 140 quilts at the inaugural Quilt and Rug Show and it became an annual event.
SCACA also ran an annual art show and in 1959 the two shows were merged into one. Members of SCACA interested in particular crafts have since formed several specialized guilds of their own including quilters, spinners, weavers, rug hookers and stitchers. Each of these groups, 13 in total, has their own display at the fair to show their work, demonstrate their skills and selling items they have created in the past year.
In 1975, the fair moved to a new home at the Simcoe County Museum and in 2000, museum staff began to run it. Today, it draws around 1,300 people over the three days.
Some of the guilds choose a different theme for the annual fair. This year the quilters will be showing some Halloween themed pieces. Some of the handmade quilts will be for sale and smaller quilted items will be available in the Merchant’s Mall store, along with a variety of craft supplies and start-up kits.
Many of the crafts have also proved to have a therapeutic quality, providing a calming, peaceful activity that can help to relieve anxiety.
Visitors can watch all kinds of demonstrations of heritage crafts such as rug hooking, spinning wheels and loom weaving as well as demonstrations of hand-made brooms and woodworking.
“The Lacemakers don’t tend to sell (because) it’s intricate and takes so many hours to do,” said Crew, adding that the guild is always for new members to help keep lacemaking going. “It’s a very old art – we need to keep it alive.”
There’s live entertainment with Moonglow, and the Friends of the Simcoe County Museum will have food and refreshments for sale.
The fair runs from Sept. 20-22 at the Simcoe County Museum, five minutes north of Barrie on Hwy 26. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for youth and seniors, $5 for children, free for preschoolers and members of the museum. For more information click here or call 705-728-3721.