The CSRA is bustling with activities, events and outdoor commerce this early May weekend. Saturday at noon will see the first Augusta Handmade Fair of 2022, the semi-annual artisan market festival held by Redemption Church.
Launched in 2015 to raise money for church missions—this year benefiting Sojourn Church in Kampala, Uganda—the Handmade Fair is “focused on showcasing local creatives,” said event coordinator Claire Riche in its press release. The downtown event hosts a wide variety of local and regional artists and vendors selling their crafted wares, from clothing and jewelry, to knits and pottery, handmade soaps, paintings and more.
The food vendors are just as diverse, ranging from Sudanese food to banh mi sandwiches to cupcakes and lemonade.
The last Handmade Fair was November 5-6, 2021. The crowds proved healthy last fall, as three previous had been cancelled three previous fairs due to COVID.
With spring on the cusp of summer, the season is ripe for outdoor shopping or perusing. The Handmade Fair is set up at the Doris Building on 930 Broad St. Three streets over, on 15 Eighth St., the Saturday Market on the River will already be four hours in. Those looking to stay occupied most of the day can start at the market at 8 a.m.
Even if one traverses the Augusta Market its full duration, visiting vendors, shopping for vegetables or gazing at animals at the petting zoo, there will still be plenty of time to wander over to Broad Street and keep on shopping or admiring the art for another two hours, as the Handmade Fair doesn’t end until 4 p.m.
The Evans Market will be open Saturday for those on the Columbia County side, having kicked off for the year on April 23 (that week in conjunction with the county’s monthly Move Challenge event). The market is held at 7015 Evans Town Center Blvd., and is open from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., and usually promises plenty of produce and floral vendors. Sheep 2 Stitch, a local yarn vendor that also offers knitting, sewing and crochet classes, will be at this week’s Evans Market according to its Facebook event page, offering “yarns, fibers and notions and more, plus kits for Mother’s Day.”
A little further across the river, the Spring Farm Fest, Aiken County’s farmer’s market, will kick off at 8:30 a.m. The “celebration of spring” will be at 115 Williamsburg St. SE, and will feature attractions like honey tasting, touch-a-tractor and a coloring contest judged by local artist, Mimi Inman, alongside its vendors.