The Craftsmen’s Summer Classic Art & Craft Festival always stays in season at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.
The 35th annual show will fill the halls at Oak Street and 21st Avenue North, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday-Saturday, and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission remains unchanged at $8 ages 13 and older ($1 discount coupon available at www.gilmoreshows.com/craftsmens_classics_myrtle_summer.shtml), $1 ages 6-12, and free ages 5 and younger. The ticket also lasts all three days with a return pass available from the show office on site, with photo ID, and parking is $5 daily.
Carly Cook, advertising and marketing director for Gilmore Shows, based in Jacksonville, Fla., marks the third generation in her family helping put together these artisans’ expos in an enterprise begun by her late grandfather, Clyde Gilmore Jr., and carried on by her parents, Clyde Gilmore III and wife Tami Gilmore. Craftmen’s Christmas shows also are booked for Nov. 3-5 at the S.C. State Fairgrounds in Columbia, and Nov. 24-26 at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex in North Carolina’s Triad.
Cook fielded questions to preview the Grand Strand event.
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Q: With this marking the 35th “Craftsmen’s Classic” show on the Grand Strand for a weekend, how has Myrtle Beach earned its spot as the lone summer expo among nine of these annual shows that the Gilmore family coordinates across the Carolinas and Virginia?
A: When we began our event in Myrtle Beach 35 years ago, we were thrilled to be trying out a new market, but of course, did not know what to expect as it was our only summer show. Fortunately, the locals and visitors were very receptive to the event and our exhibitors, and they welcomed the opportunity to take a break from the sun and sand for a few hours in order to spend time and shop with so many talented artists and craftsmen. We attribute much of this to the public’s desire for unique, handcrafted items, both for themselves and as gifts. Also, who wouldn’t want to get a jump start on their holiday shopping before the season even begins?
Q: What’s the roster count of exhibitors, and broken down, how many are returning vendors, and how many are new for 2017?
A: We have more than 200 exhibitors in this event, and are so impressed by their talent and caliber. About two-thirds of the 2017 participants are returning exhibitors, which means you can find your familiar favorites as well as plenty of brand-new exhibitors and items. For example, we have a new exhibitor coming from Florida with fossil lamps – some of the items that Bob Hunter creates utilize fossilized coral that is more than 500,000 years old. The talent and ingenuity of these artisans are truly stunning.
Q: What popularity trends in arts and wares has the Gilmore family noticed resonating with crowds in recent years, or do the popular materials among artisans rotate among, for instance, glass, wood, painting, and what other media?
A: The popular trends shift seasonally, but summer always seems to be a prime time for home decor and yard decorations. Home decor is such a great thing to find at this event because of the extensive variety. You can find photography, fine art, decorative pottery, paintings on pieces of driftwood, furniture, stained glass, colorful and “beachy” signs and wall art, lighting fixtures, and so much more. The beauty of decorating your home with items from the Craftsmen’s Classic is that you will take home a story behind each piece – and the likelihood of any friends or family having the same decor is slim to none.
Q: This show also has made customizing things for customers a tradition. What are some of the most astounding pieces and art your family has seen from vendors creating their work on site on request from customers to bring home after attending this show?
A: The possibilities are astounding. We have a glass blower, Curtis Cecil, who hasn’t been to the area in quite some time but is joining us this year. If you have a favorite animal – that he hasn’t already created – let him know. He can craft it right in front of your eyes. Last year, Jie Li was working each night after the event closed to finalize his portraits. He can work in person as you sit and model, or from photographs. If there’s a child in your life, don’t hesitate to find Keith Hartman, who creates personalized wooden step stools and toys. For anyone who’s a dog lover, Fran Dixon can paint your pup in a beach scene on a piece of driftwood to hang proudly in your living room. The possibilities are endless at this event.
Q: With so many summer vacationers who make this show an anchor of their stays, what is the typical number of states from which you hear people traveling?
A: We have phone calls coming in year round from people all across the country to confirm our Myrtle Beach event dates – they plan their vacation around this show. I would venture to guess that we have vacationers coming to the event from at least 20 states, and I am certain there are Canadian vacationers who mark us on their calendar as well. It’s one of the reasons that our only summer event is anchored in Myrtle Beach. We appreciate the opportunity to showcase exhibitors from more than 20 states to customers from the local area and from across the continent. Because this event is such a long-standing, award-winning show, we believe this might be some people’s only opportunity each year to attend an event of this caliber. We are grateful every day that we are able to be a part of that.
Contact Steve Palisin at 843-444-1764.
If you go
WHAT: 35th annual Craftsmen’s Summer Classic Art & Craft Festival
BY: Gilmore Shows, based in Jacksonville, Fla.
WHEN: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday-Saturday, and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Myrtle Beach Convention Center, at Oak Street and 21st Avenue North.
HOW MUCH: $8 ages 13 and older ($1 discount coupon available online), $1 ages 6-12, and free ages 5 and younger. Parking $5 daily.
ALSO: Admission lasts all three days with return pass available from show office, with photo ID.
INFORMATION: 336-282-5550 or www.gilmoreshows.com/craftsmens_classics_myrtle_summer.shtml