Regional entrepreneurs enter their first year at craft show


MANCHESTER >> Hundreds of new and returning vendors set up shop in the valley of mountains this weekend for the 28th annual Manchester Art & Craft Festival.

Jewelry, woodwork, clothing, specialty food and spirits, and other handmade items were on display or being made during the festival. On Friday, Legato Blues Band performed, followed by Black Mountain Symphony on Saturday and Storm Cats Jazz on Sunday. A number of local restaurants sold food, too.

Traditionally the festival has been held at the Hildene farm, but this year folks traveled down the road a bit to The Practice Tee on Hunter Park Road.

Various regional distilleries and cider makers presented bottles for people to sample.

A few artisans have participated in the festival for years, but for Planted Organics, this was its debut year.

Roy Souvenir and Shane Wagner used to run track together at the University of Albany. They got into making salad dressings after not finding healthy products in the grocery store. With Souvenir's experience in catering and helping his family in the kitchen, they've successfully hit the market in a little over one month.

"The response has been amazing," Souvenir said. "I used to do catering and would make my own sauces."

The ingredient that makes it easy to adapt from a sauce to a dressing is vinegar, he said.

The pair graduated in 2013. Souvenir majored in information science. Now, they rent out a commercial kitchen in Schenectady, N.Y., and manufacture at night.

Planted Organics uses minimal ingredients and fresh flavors to avoid added salt, gluten or preservatives.

In the main craft tent, Eric Tully could be found drawing trees on dead trees.

Etched Roots sells repurposed wood with etched pictures on it. Tully said he first started out with random signs and designs, but the images of trees became more popular. He got into the business after repurposing a wooden bucket that fell apart. His wife helps with product ideas, he said.

"I turned it into a full-time thing," he said. "[Favorite part is] working for myself."

Tully does customized orders and free-hand draws all the designs with a power carver. He's based out of Vermont and Massachusetts.

For clothing makers, Emily Alice lucked out on a overcast, fall day. While showing existing scarf designs, she was weaving more. This was also her first year at the show, besides participating in the Bennington Craft Show earlier this year.

Alice was working while her parents, the original business owners of Mostrom & Chase Handweavers, babysat. Alice is a second generation weaver. Her parents ran the business for 40 years, she said.

Contact Makayla-Courtney McGeeney at 802-490-6471.


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