I recently took stock of our craft supply cupboard and realized it’s looking a little paltry.

At one time, I was proud of the run-of-the-mill pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks and multi-colored pom-poms in our craft stash. But that was before a Michaels craft store opened in Waynesville, and now, I find myself wandering the aisles craving must-have craft supplies I was once blissfully ignorant of. 


To stock a craft cupboard from scratch can cost a small fortune, however. That’s why I am asking every relative I can conjure to pile on the craft supplies for both my kids’ birthdays this year: bring on the buttons, sequins, ribbons, googley eyes, beads, floral wire, modeling clay, feathers, Styrofoam balls, and all genres of glitter — glitter paint, glitter pens, glitter glue, glitter confetti, glitter dust, liquid glitter, glitter crayons, and for good measure the “Sparkle Sweeper,” a special tiny brush for cleaning up the inevitable glitter spills. 

And therein lies the real rub. The setup and clean-up that goes with an afternoon of crafting seems to take longer than my kids actual spend doing a craft project.

So I always jump at any organized event that offers craft projects for kids. You simply roll up and create to your hearts’ content, and then let someone else deal with all the paint-encrusted brushes when it’s over.

The annual Youth Art Festival in Dillsboro this Saturday (September 21) will give kids a chance to immerse themselves in hands-on crafting and see real artists at work. It is held at the Jackson County Green Energy Park in Dillsboro from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Artists will do demonstrations throughout the day and lead kids in make-and-take projects including pots, woven bookmarks, glass mosaics, tennis ball paintings and more stuff than you probably have the space or wherewithal to display. (Hint: It’s never too early to make Christmas presents for the grandparents). There will also be a stage with local musicians and dance troupes.

The innovative Green Energy Park is also a great place to teach kids about sustainability. It taps the methane gas by-product of decomposing trash buried in an old landfill to fuel the furnaces of glass blowers, potters’ kilns and blacksmith forges. There also are several greenhouses and a collection system for recycled rainwater, demonstrating wise and responsible use of resources.

The whole shebang is free, with food and drinks for sale. www.jcgep.org or 828.631.0271 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Another great — and also free — event this Saturday is the Mountain Life Festival at the Mountain Farm Museum in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Costumed demonstrators will give kids a glimpse at what life was like in the old-days of Appalachia, making soap, apple cider, molasses, brooms and open-hearth cooking. The picturesque campus of the Mountain Farm Museum speaks volumes about the self-sufficient lifestyle of early settlers, so take time to wander the old barns, corn crib, spring house, blacksmith shop, apple house, smoke house — and the perennial favorite of kids, the outhouse.

Located on U.S. 441 north of Cherokee just inside the entrance of the national park. 


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