BENNINGTON - After 30 years in Manchester, the award-winning Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival has moved to Bennington as part of the Bennington Arts Weekend.

The festival will include juried arts & crafts, live music daily, food, beer, wine, and kids activities. Admission is only $8 for adults, and kids 12 and under are free - a great value for the whole family. The festival will be held from Aug. 2 to 4, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It takes place at Camelot Village, 66 Colgate Heights in Bennington, a mile west of Town on Route 9.

When the ACC Northeast Craft Fair outgrew the Bennington location and left for the spacious Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, N.Y., many Vermont artisans felt there was a void to be filled.

In 1973, four intrepid and visionary Vermonters formed an organization called "Craftproducers," the very same organization that is bringing the craft fair back to Bennington in 2013. (The founders of Craftproducers were Riki Moss, potter; Bob Burnell, The Stone Soldier, potter; John McLeod, woodworker; and, Charley Dooley, candle maker. Ever since, Dooley has been producing the art and craft festival.)

So, 40 years later, the craft show has returned to Bennington as The 35th Annual Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival. The show was initially held in Manchester at the recreation area before it moved to Hildene meadows in 1984. It was a huge success, especially in the 1990's when Stratton held the men's tennis tournaments and later the LPGA golf tournament. Today Hildene no longer wants to be an event venue, rather an agricultural tourist destination. Their decision led Craftproducers to seek a new home for this prestigious craft show.

The organizers of the Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival are pleased with the enthusiastic welcome from the Bennington community. Craftproducers Owner, Tim Cianciola, said, "I am blown away by the friendly welcome and strong support from everyone in Bennington. I think we may be starting a new tradition."

The Vermont Arts Exchange, the Bennington Museum, the Bennington Chamber of Commerce, Hawkins House Craftsmarket, Bennington Potters, Better Bennington Corporation, Fiddlehead at Four Corners Gallery, and others are actively involved in planning for the Festival. Together with the Bennington Banner and these local groups, Craftproducers is coordinating a town-wide Bennington Arts Festival Weekend. Details will be published on the website (www.craftrproducers.com) about the individual activities of each arts participant. For example, the Bennington Museum will have a craft related installation in the Decorative Arts gallery. It will also stay open later on Friday as it is also "First Friday" in Bennington. For details about First Friday events, visit www.betterbennington.com.

Abundant free parking is available. The event is held rain or shine and exhibits are housed under tents. For more info contact the Bennington Chamber of Commerce at (802) 447- 3311 or www.craftproducers.com.