Abundant sunshine and seasonable fall temperatures welcomed 14,000 people who came out to the Patagonia Town Park the weekend of Oct. 9 – 10 for this year’s Sky Island Fall Artisan Market, known locally as the Fall Festival.
Free admission, spectacular arts and crafts, live music, and a variety of food offerings brought out visitors from all over Southern Arizona.
Smiling faces, laughter, children’s happy voices, people of all ages and dogs, dogs, dogs filled the park at this 32nd year of the Festival. And the dogs, many small ones in strollers and most larger canines on leashes, were quite well-behaved.
SAACA, Southern Arizona Arts and Culture Alliance, managed the event structuring the space in the park so that crowds could easily stroll and browse the beautiful offerings. Wide avenues running the length of the park provided convenient access to the 100 or so booths featuring paintings, pottery, ceramics, metal work, jewelry, stained glass, leather work, horticulture, home furnishings, and much more.
Pleased vendors reported strong sales and promises of repeat business in the future. A popular feature of the Festival, the traditional Patagonia Library’s book sale raised $4,000.
Live music from local and area entertainers serenaded the crowds both days with blue grass, rock, jazz, and classical offerings. One of the bands, Jam Pak, featured musicians from ages 5 to 80. Chairs and tables placed in front of and around the bandstand invited people to sit, enjoy the music and maybe celebrate the day with a picnic or a glass of wine.
Ten food trucks offered snacks, lunch and dinner, and local restaurants reported being very busy throughout the festivities. The Patagonia Fire Dept. grillers served around 1,300 hamburgers over the two days, along with hot dogs and fixings. Bright red and yellow fire and rescue trucks flanked the grills, while the volunteer firefighters chatted with friends and visitors as they flipped burgers and dogs. Chairs and tables were set under the trees so people could eat comfortably, rest a while, and enjoy the friendly atmosphere.
By two o’clock on Sunday afternoon the event was winding down. Thanks to the hard work of everyone involved, it was a successful weekend. People agreed that the number of vendors and attendees was “just right” so that everyone had a wonderful, fun time. The goal of showcasing local artists and craftspeople while supporting local small businesses was met.