This August, Utah residents will have a chance to participate in what has become a celebrated annual tradition. Craft Lake City, now in its tenth year, is a self-described “DIY festival,” designed to showcase the work of local artists and craftsmen. The festival is about more than selling products — it is a celebration of the unique artistic communities in Salt Lake City.
The festival features work from hundreds of local artisans. For these small businesses, Craft Lake City is a chance to expose their creations to like-minded individuals. The organization estimates that more than 20,000 people will visit the festival this year, and for local artisans often competing with large chains, Craft Lake City is an invaluable opportunity. As the title suggests, many of the exhibitors at the festival create DIY crafts, but the small entrepreneurs offer a diverse range of work. Last year, some featured businesses included a vintage clothing line, a medicinal herb business and a handcrafted empanada company. Though the definition of “DIY” is expansive, the work at Craft Lake City shares a common ethos of creativity, independence and handcrafted work.
While the focus of Craft Lake City is to highlight the work of artisans, the festival hosts a wide variety of events that expand far beyond craft booths. In the Google Fiber STEM building, spectators can view the work of innovators in the STEM field, including local inventors, scientists, engineers and creators combining art and technology. This year, some of the STEM exhibits include Binary, a robotics maker and Momentum Recycling, a group that aims to reduce waste through innovative approaches to recycling and composting. Craft Lake City also includes food and drink vendors that share the festival’s focus on local, handcrafted goods. The festival features many live performances from Utahn musicians and dancers. For young visitors, a Kids’ Area will offer age-appropriate activities and crafts. The festival also hosts workshops and demonstrations, designed to teach visitors about DIY crafts and encourage them to create their own work.
Since its inception in 2009, Craft Lake City has continually expanded in reach. It began as a small one-day festival designed to celebrate alternative art. Ten years later, the event lasts three days and features an ever-expanding lineup of artists and exhibits. As the event has grown in scope and influence, it has continued its mission to promote and inspire artisans while connecting them to the larger community. On the Craft Lake City website, creator and executive director Angela H. Brown said, “In Salt Lake City we had this incredible maker culture [and] incredible craft culture, but not a lot of places to exhibit. One of the reasons why I started Craft Lake City was to provide this environment for artisans to not only become empowered by showing their work to the public but also to sell their work to the public in this incredible, progressive and open environment.”
The hundreds of artists and thousands of visitors that visit Craft Lake City prove that Brown’s vision is now a reality.
Craft Lake City will be held from August 10-12 at the Gallivan Center. Single day tickets are $5, weekend passes are $10, and VIP packages charge an additional $20. To purchase tickets or to learn more about the festival, visit craftlakecity.com