By Ellie Mamula
Baltimore Watchdog Staff Writer
More than 250 vendors from throughout the East Coast provided live music, games, food, and hand-made jewelry, pottery and clothing during the 43rd annual Catonsville Arts and Crafts festival on Sunday.
“We have been coming to the Catonsville Arts and Crafts festival for over 20 years now,” said Greg Cleaver, a resident of Catonsville. “It is a family tradition for us since we have lived in Catonsville and been a part of the community for over 35 years.”
With the temperature in the low 80s with sunny skies, the festival was held on one of the nicest days Baltimore has seen this summer.
“I do about 45 art shows a year, and I have been a vendor at the Catonsville festival for 11 years,” said Joan Betzold, the owner and creator of Partnership Crafts in Bel Air. “I hand make everything. I hand dye all the baskets, and it usually takes me an hour to make a basket.”
In addition to Maryland, vendors came from Pennsylvania, Virginia and New York.
“I love being at the Catonsville Arts and Crafts festival, even though it is not the most successful for me,” Betzold said. “I think the economy plays a huge role in the lack of success each vendor has at these arts and crafts customers.”
Certain vendors stick to arts and crafts festivals full time while others have their products in stores and boutiques too.
“My house is my studio right now,” said Iris Grundler, the creator of Pottery in Ellicott City. “I had my pottery displayed in a gallery in Old Ellicott City, but unfortunately because of the flood, I no longer have my pieces displayed there.”
Grundler is a one-person business and has been making her own pottery out of her house for 15 years.
“It is a funny story how I got into making pottery,” she said. “My boys did not want me around when they were in high school and told me to get a life. So I did. I made pottery my life.”
Earth’s Enrichments, a USDA-certified skin care line that is sold in Whole Foods and Dawson’s Market, was attending its second year at the festival.
“We are a Baltimore-based company, so we love coming out to local events, especially on days like today,” said Michelle Jackson, a company spokesperson.
Kyle Sterry, a member of the Chamber of Commerce in Catonsville, said a lot of planning goes into the festival.
“We see a lot of the same faces every year at the festival,” Sterry said. “Catonsville is a large, family community. All of the locals know each other in the area, so this event is fun for area, and it is good for our community.”