Ocean Shores’ longest-running annual event, the AAOS Arts &Crafts Festival, has moved up to Labor Day weekend at the Convention Center, featuring family fun and a huge variety of handmade items from area artisans.
The 49th annual event — the primary revenue source for one of the North Coast’s oldest nonprofits, Associated Arts of Ocean Shores — kicks off Friday from noon to 5 p.m. It continues Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and wraps up Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.
One of the traditions of the event is that all of the arts and crafts merchandise sold must be in some way handmade. Most of the creators of everything from fine art to key fobs are present at their booths, and many will be demonstrating their skills and artistic talents on-site. For example, Betty Downes of Ocean Shores will be making homespun yarn at the show — as she has done for more years than most can remember.
Organizers and patrons agree the opportunity to shop for gifts that are unique and individually crafted is what makes the event a success.
The move up to Labor Day weekend has added at least 20 new vendors, bringing the total past 70 to fill up the Convention Center. A half-dozen food vendors will offer treats ranging from soul food to tacos to ice cream. Outside, custom and classic cars will be on display; face painting and temporary tattoos will be offered; and AAOS will host a booth with free rock painting for kids.
On Saturday, drum circles will be led by Johannes throughout the day, an outdoor beer garden will be set up and the Bruce Hughes Band will perform live from 2 to 6 p.m.
Strolling musicians will play all three days.
The event also offers space to area nonprofits and expects several to participate this year.
Sylvia Schroll, one of the event organizers and wife of AAOS President Ed Schroll, said the economics of holding the event on Labor Day weekend seem to make sense.