Craft booths are vital part of festival
Besides the leaves, the grand parade and scads of people, there is another fixture that makes the Maple Leaf Festival what it is. That's about 500 craft booths.
"The craft booths are definitely the backbone of the festival," said Diane Wagner, a member of the booth committee. "For sure, many folks come to see the parade and the marching bands, but it's the craft booths that keep them here.
"We try very hard to make sure that every item is a hand-crafted item," said Wagner. "It's been getting harder and harder to monitor that, however, we still try to make sure the majority of items offered for sale are made by the lady or gentleman sitting in the booth."
The booths have always been a main-stay of the festival, but there have been changes over the years.
"Two years ago, we decided to extend the craft booths north on Eighth street," she said. "The reception was very favorable. Festival attendees loved the walk down the brick streets with the sunlight filtering through the fall colors.
"It helped tie the main part of the festival to the Business and Professional Women's arts and craft show up in the Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center gym," said Wagner. "We were able to accommodate more crafters with a larger diversity of product. It also help raise more revenue for the festival."
Unfortunately, that has been scaled back this year. The Eighth Street booths will only be going as far north as the Owens Musical Arts Building on the Baker University campus, which is south of Dearborn St.
However, there will still be a multitude of booths for craft seekers to view, including the areas at BESPC, where the BPW has both outside booths and inside booths at the gym. Those total 90 booths. There are 12 booths at the lumberyard, about twice that at the fire station and four in Stacey's Dance Studio.
Complete lists of the booths, including the BPW versions, are listed on the next four pages of the Maple Leaf Festival special edition. They will also be available online at www.baldwincity.com in the Maple Leaf Festival section.