Don’t expect snowmen fashioned from Styrofoam balls or apple-stenciled wall plaques at this Saturday’s Picnic Music+Arts Festival in Portland’s Lincoln Park.

Instead, this annual indie craft fair serves up a decidedly funkier assortment of goods, such as handknit fingerless gloves, handstitched felt monsters and handmade rubber couture. Mixed in with the crafters will be vendors selling vintage clothing, housewares and decor items.

By design, everything on offer at the event exudes an artsy, hipster vibe.

Now in its third year, Picnic is part of a nationwide trend of craft fairs showcasing unique items from the young, DIY scene.

While trying to pigeonhole this edgy, offbeat group of artisans can be tough, it’s easy to say they’re not the sort of crafters who populate the Christmas fair in the basement of your grandmother’s church.

“We had a ton of applications this year, and it always comes down to really hard decisions,” said Sean Wilkinson, who organizes the event with Noah DeFilippis and Amy Teh of Pinecone+Chickadee, Ron Harrity of Peapod Recordings and Diane Toepher of Ferdinand.

To be part of the event, each applicant must make it through a jury, which evaluates potential vendors’ offerings and determines whether they fit with the overall feel of the show. This year, the jurors whittled down almost 200 applications to a little more than 100 confirmed vendors.

“We have a very specific vision for every Picnic,” Wilkinson said. “If you walk through Ferdinand or Find or Eli Phant, it’s that kind of aesthetic.”

Each of those Portland boutiques Wilkinson mentions carry handcrafted artisan wares or vintage goods.

“The most important thing we look at is if it’s nontraditional,” said Teh, who owns the Pinecone+Chickadee design company with her husband, DeFilippis. “We definitely wanted to step away from the traditional craft fair.”

Toepfer often exhibits at out-of-state indie craft fairs, but she says the Portland event retains its own flavor.

“It feels really different from the craft fairs I’ve done in New York,” Toepfer said. “Last year, it felt like people hung out all day long, even though it was raining.”

Part of the appeal for all-day festival-goers is the lineup of free music. And Kari Chapin, author of “The Handmade Marketplace,” will be at the event all day, signing and selling her books. But the lure of design-conscious items handcrafted in Maine shouldn’t be underestimated.

“Mainers have a different quality level,” Toepfer said. “It’s not just a goofy, quick buck. People are incredibly talented here.”


Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at:

[email protected]


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