After more than a decade’s absence, Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival returns to Manchester

MANCHESTER — Craftproducers will ring in a new era of the Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival: 125 tented art and craft boutiques will grace the lawns at Hunter Park (Riley Rink Field, 410 Hunter Park Rd.) Friday and Saturday, Sept. 8 and 9, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 10, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

After twenty-seven years, Hildene decided to no longer host this festival, and the peregrination of the Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival began. After a 27-year run, the show wandered to Bennington and Camelot Village for six years. Eventually the festival simply ceased due to Covid.

"What was once an institution at Hildene left a void in the soul of Manchester," state organizers in a news release.

"When the craft show comes to town, that's when the summer season really begins" was a common saying in Manchester back in the mid-eighties, Ron Mancini (1)of Mother Myrick's remembers. "People scheduled their summer vacations around the Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival, restaurants jammed, shoppers abounded as the first outlet malls opened in town, and the town complained of traffic. Success will do that, and when the men's tennis tournament and then the women's golf tournament joined the craft show the same weekend, Manchester really rocked."

Organizers say they've planned for a festive ambience, with a different band playing music each day, craft demonstrations, food vendors cooking up a storm, and a craft beer and wine tent serving local libations daily. Specialty food and Vermont spirit makers will display in individual tents and offer their products for sale as well.

The festival will be held rain or shine. Admission is $10 for adults and free for children (no pets allowed). Parking is free. For more information, including a listing of exhibitors, entertainment, and food trucks, visit

This The Arts item was submitted to The Commons.

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