One of the largest indie craft fairs in the Midwest is expected to draw thousands of Kansas Citians to discover local makers and creators.
Strawberry Swing’s summer event, set for Sunday at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art lawn, aims to showcase vendors from Kansas City, as well as parts of Arkansas, Iowa, Oklahoma and more.
It’s important for Midwest makers to have a place to shine, said Katie Mabry van Dieren, Strawberry Swing director.
“I only allow vendors to come from the Midwest,” Mabry van Dieren said. “Only because I feel like coastal cities already have a lot of stuff like this. And when we started the Strawberry Swing in 2011, there wasn’t any other event like this in the area.”
What started as an annual event now returns four times a year. The most recent Strawberry Swing fair in December garnered 10,000 attendees, Mabry van Dieren said, noting she’s proud of its growth.
“I know it’s strange to contribute sports to art, but I really do think there is a correlation between the Royals going to the World Series and Kansas City love,” Mabry van Dieren said. “Suddenly, Kansas City is booming and all over the map. I swear, it inspired everyone to come out to the fair and want to get unique Kansas City shirts and art and the fair has just exploded, which is awesome to see.”
Strawberry Swing is sponsored by Etsy, Yelp, Kansas City’s Starlight Theatre, Farmers Insurance and others. More than 100 vendors are planned to offer such crafts and gadgets as ceramics, 3D art, clothing and jewelry.
“I hope guests walk away from the Swing being incredibly proud of our hometown creatives,” she said. “And with the inspiration to shop locally, conscientiously and with the pride that they’re supporting a community of small businesses, makers and food trucks.”
The art maker community is continuing to play a larger role in Kansas City’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, Mabry van Dieren said.
“Entrepreneurship and small, local businesses are popping up all over the city. “A lot of vendors have really become entrepreneurs and have been able to quit their day job and become full-time makers, which is the coolest thing to see.”
Strawberry Swing partnered with the Maker Faire KC in June and featured its vendors at the event, which was at Union Station.
The fair Sunday is a free event, though guests may choose to make a donation to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. For more information, click here.