One of the hallmarks of a great crafts fair – a type of attraction in which the Hudson Valley excels – is the way that the lines between artisanship and art become increasingly blurred. There’s something deeply satisfying about decorating our surroundings sparely with utilitarian objects of subtle beauty, rather than filling them with heavily advertised, mass-produced must-haves-of-the-month.
The Rhinebeck Arts Festival, which returns to the Dutchess County Fairgrounds this weekend, dispenses with the ‘“crafts’“ descriptor in its title altogether; but that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to find the perfect accessory, home furnishing or holiday gift there that’s within your budget. Some 200 independent artists and craftspeople will be displaying their wares, and along with the paintings, drawings, prints and photography, there will also be works in wood, clay, glass, metal, fiber, leather, mixed media, jewelry and furniture. And if nothing else grabs you, you can always treat yourself to some handmade, small-batch gourmet consumables.
There will be live R&B music both Saturday and Sunday from the Lindsey Webster Band, craft demonstrations, alcoholic beverage tastings for the grownups and hands-on craft activities for the whole family courtesy of FiberFlame Studio. The Festival will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, October 2 and Sunday, October 4 and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 3. The entry fee is $10 general admission, $9 for seniors, $4 for children aged 6 to 16; kids under age 6 get in free. Parking is plentiful and free.
The Dutchess County Fairgrounds are located at 6550 Spring Brook Avenue (Route 9) in Rhinebeck. For more info call (845) 331-7900 or visit www.artrider.com, where you can also get a $1 admission discount by signing up for the e-mail list.