Pittsburghers are a crafty bunch. From the many makers who call the region home to the people who simply love snatching up their goods, we look forward to gathering with family and friends at annual fall events celebrating the arts and crafts community. Last year, the pandemic caused several craft fairs and art festivals to be canceled or changed, but many are back and ready to host both new and regular attendees safely outside. Here are our top picks:
A Fair in the Park
Sept. 10, 1 to 7 p.m.; Sept. 11, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sept. 12, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Mellon Park, adjacent to Pittsburgh Center for the Arts
6300 Fifth Ave., Shadyside
After having to cancel last year, A Fair in the Park is back for its 52nd year. The event, which typically attracts around 20,000 attendees, features nearly 100 artisans and craftspeople from Pittsburgh and across the country. The fair is presented by the Craftsmen’s Guild of Pittsburgh.
“Many artisans were impacted in a huge way when events were shut down last year,” says Carrie Nardini, director of A Fair in the Park. “We recognize the impact that events have in these artists’ livelihoods, and we couldn’t be happier to be back this year.”
To keep things as Covid safe as possible, the guild opted to stretch out distances between booths and hold off on live music this year. Attendees are encouraged to bring a picnic blanket to enjoy the array of food offerings.
Each year, the Craftsmen’s Guild of Pittsburgh welcomes another local artisan guild to exhibit at the event. This year’s featured guild is Women of Visions, which promotes the art, culture and history of women of African descent.
EQT Washington & Greene Counties’ Covered Bridge Festival
Sept. 18 and 19, most sites open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission and parking: free
What’s more fall than perusing handmade arts and crafts amidst the backdrop of a charming covered bridge? The 50th annual Covered Bridge Festival features vendors spanning 10 different locations in Washington and Greene counties.
“All 10 sites are pleased to bring this cherished event back to the area as the unofficial kick-off to the fall festival season,” says Dana Bucci with Visit Washington County.
Offerings include seasonal decor, jewelry, an array of artwork and unique gifts. And don’t worry about cooking that weekend — there is more homestyle food than you could shake a chicken on a stick at.
Mt. Lebanon Artists’ Market
Oct. 2 and 3, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Academy parking lot (behind The Saloon and across from Rollier hardware store)
600 Washington Road
Returning after being canceled last year, this signature artist market sponsored by the Mt. Lebanon Partnership will include nearly 80 booths featuring jewelry, wood, sculpture, glass, ceramics, leather and metal.
“This juried event has become increasingly competitive and a greater number of artists are applying to participate,” says event chair Wendy Denenberg. “These factors increase the quality of the art, which we believe improves our region’s quality of life.”
As part of the market’s mission to both support the livelihood of professional artists and engage the community, the event will also showcase creative activities for all ages. A donated piece of art will be raffled off to benefit the Mt. Lebanon Artists’ Market Scholarship Fund recognizing the talent of a local high school student who intends to major in art.
Parking for the market is available nearby at the North Parking Garage on Washington Road, at metered parking spots and in the surrounding neighborhood.
Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Mini-Fall Festival
Oct. 2, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Twin Lakes Park, 219 Twin Lakes Road, Latrobe
Admission and parking: free
Fans of the annual Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival held in July can get a fall festival fix with this new scaled-back version.
“We will be using approximately 1 acre of Twin Lakes Park — during our July event we use over 8 acres,” says Diane Shrader, the festival’s executive director.
The Mini-Fall Festival will offer everything the main festival offers in July, just on a smaller scale, including 35 craft booths, food, music, wineries and distilleries, children’s activities, fine art, fall activities and more.
Christmas in the Woods
Oct. 9 and 10 and Oct. 16 and 17, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
44337 County Line Road, Columbiana, Ohio
Admission: $8 per day, free for children age 12 and under
Parking is free
This one’s a bit of a hike, but just ask the Western PA folks who regularly attend the old-fashioned Christmas in the Woods and they’ll tell you it’s well worth it. Held under a towering tree canopy, the event features traditional crafts as well as a wide selection of handmade holiday items. And because everyone knows you come to a holiday gathering with a big appetite, prepare to indulge in everything from homemade soup to roasted nuts.