War Eagle

Craft Fair Greatness

War Eagle Craft Fair offers variety of wares Oct. 18-21

Unique finds in the Ozarks

War Eagle Craft Fair has a little something for everyone, from vendors to food to live music. The fair returns to the Ozarks Thursday, Oct. 18, through Sunday, Oct. 21, and it’s sure to be big as ever.

Vicki Wing, who is organizing the fair, said she expects between 200,000 and 300,000 people to come to the fair this year. That means those interested in coming to the event should arrive early.

“The best time to come out here will be early in the morning, because traffic will be backed up for miles,” Wing said. “It’s going to be a lot of crowd, but come out here and you’ll get just about anything to eat in the whole wide world, with ample parking in the fields.”

There are actually three craft fairs going on at the same time, Wing said. War Eagle Mill vendors will be on the mill’s parking lot grounds, with the Sharp Show taking place on the fields adjacent to the mill and the War Eagle Fair going on across the bridge. Because there is limited space at the mill, Wing said, it’s important for every vendor there to offer handmade items.

“We want people to come to the fair and see things being made,” Wing said. “You can go to Walmart and buy a lot of things some people have in booths, but I think the uniqueness and craftsmanship sets our booths apart.”

War Eagle Fair is the oldest craft fair in the area, Wing said, and features items like folk art, watercolor and oil paintings, pottery, stoneware, wreaths, potpourris, dried arrangements, quilts, miniatures, country clothing, wearable art, candles, homemade soaps, bird houses and much more. The participants in that fair are juried, Wing said, and come from all over the United States.

“War Eagle Fair has been going on for so many years, most of the people consider this the fair of the region,” Wing said. “It was the first one that started it all. A lot of people will come here first.”

For War Eagle Mill employee Jennifer Hunt, the best part of the fair is the atmosphere. Hunt said she loves the live music at the fair, saying she hopes people leave the fair with an experience they’ll never forget.

“It definitely feels like a fair environment, with the food smells and the cool air,” Hunt said. “Everybody loves the music. It feels like a festival when you get here.”

Hunt said she loves interacting with the people who come to the fair. You never know who you’ll see, she said.

“We make friends and connections with the people we meet during that week,” Hunt said. “There are different amounts and types of people who come through here.”

“Everybody loves to talk to you,” Wing agreed. “They love to hear what it’s like to live in the Ozarks. For some people, it’s tradition. They come year after year after year.”

The reason the craft fair has become such a tradition, Wing said, is because of the mill’s history. Over 170 years, the mill has been built, flooded, torn apart by the Civil War and rebuilt. What makes the mill so special, Hunt said, is the grain production. Hunt said the mill’s emphasis on self-sufficiency ties into the unique finds at the craft fair.

“All our grain products are handmade, and the products we feature are made by local artists,” Hunt said. “There’s a lot of history here.”

Everyone who works at the mill is dedicated to make the craft fair an enjoyable experience, Wing said, and they are all knowledgeable about the mill’s history.

“The people here really care about the mill and the history and preserving that,” Wing said. “Everybody is so excited to talk about the mill, and you don’t get that everywhere.”

“There’s definitely a lot of passion,” Hunt said.

When people come to the fair, Hunt said, she hopes they can take a moment to slow down.

“It’s nostalgic to come here. Once you get to the highway, it’s so crazy,” Hunt said, “but you come down these country roads and you see the old bridge and the water, and it’s like time gone by.”

Wing said she’s astounded at how many people come to the mill just for the bridge.

“They want to walk across this old-time bridge and look over the side,” Wing said. “It’s like nothing else anywhere I’ve been to.”

With the fair happening in October, Hunt said, she’s sure many people will stop and stare at the scenery.

“It’s beautiful all year, but the colors in the fall make it absolutely beautiful here,” Hunt said.

Wing said she’s excited to see who turns up for the fair this year.

“There’s a sense of wonderment from being out here,” Wing said. “It’s peaceful, and it’s beautiful.”

For more information on War Eagle Craft Fair, select the link below