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Crafty Bastards Moving to New Union Market in NorthEast, Will Require $10 Tickets to Enter

by Prince Of Petworth September 6, 2012 at 10:30 am 66 Comments

1309 5th Street, NE

Back in late August we learned that after 7 years Crafty Bastards would no longer be coming to Adams Morgan. Yesterday afternoon word came out that the fair would be moving to the new Union Market. From a press release:

Crafty Bastards Arts & Crafts Fair returns to Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012, for another handmade shopping extravaganza!

Crafty Bastards Arts & Crafts Fair is an exhibition and sale of handmade arts and crafts from independent artists presented by Washington City Paper. The ninth annual event will be Crafty Bastards’ first indoor show at an exciting new location— Union Market, the new year-round indoor market featuring 40 local artisans opening Sept. 8, 2102 with designs to be D.C.’s culinary epicenter. Union Market is located at 1309 5th Street NE in Washington, D.C., and accessible via the NoMa-Gallaudet University/New York Ave. station on Metro’s Red line.

Crafty Bastards at Union Market will have ticketed admission. Tickets are $10 and will be available for purchase Sept. 28, 2012, at washingtoncitypaper.com. A limited number of VIP tickets will be offered for $25, providing early shopping access before the doors open for general admission.

For those not familiar with Union Market – from their grand opening press release:

Union Market is an artisanal, curated, year-round food market featuring over 40 local vendors. This authentic marketplace will spark a more vibrant Union Market district that overtime will become the unique destination for DC’s sophisticated and creative community inclusive of culinary, entrepreneurial and artistic innovators.

Through a highly selective process, Union Market is composed of the finest food artisans ranging from up-and-coming entrepreneurs to well known restaurateurs all creating a unique culinary experience. Union Market vendors include:

Rappahannock Oysters Co.; Buffalo & Bergen created by well-known mixologist Gina Chersevani; an Amanda McClements’ lifestyle boutique; Righteous Cheese; Peregrine Espresso; Lyon Bakery; Trickling Springs Creamery; Harvey’s Market; Oh! Pickles; Almaala Farms; DC Empanadas and TaKorean.

Union Market will open this Saturday, September 8 and will be open on Friday through Sunday only until November. Hours of operation will be Friday 11 AM – 8 PM and Saturday & Sunday from 8 AM – 8 PM. In November, the Market will expand its operating hours and open 6 days a week.

For Crafty Bastard fans – will you still attend now that it will require a $10 ticket to enter?

  • Anonymous

    OH I am not happy about that… thats $10 less that I can spend on buying crafty things for gifts. Annoying!

  • dave

    yikes – that’s a whole lotta change.

    the $10 cover is slimey.

    Seems like they are going in a bad direction. VIP craft show? give me a break.

    • molly

      yeah, that VIP ticket thing is ick. no way.

  • This stinks. I doubt I will attend this year. Not worth paying $20 for a couple to shop/visit a craft fair.

  • Anonymous

    Even though the patrons might not like it, I can see this being good for vendors. It will probably encourage people to buy at least something while they are browsing, since they had to pay to get in.

    • Anonymous

      i agree. i know people who have gone multiple times, yet have not bought anything. these vendors are doing this to sell things, to earn a living, not just to have their stuff looked at. it’s not an art opening. i think it will bring out the serious buyers and discourage browsers.
      the tough sell is that except for the smithsonian craft show or the washington craft show, most events like this in dc are free. but that’s been changing. The lesser known RAW artists series charges, Emerge charges, the building museum now charges, parts of the water street project charged, i think we’ll see a lot more of this.

      • ThePope

        Aren’t they supposed to make money by crafting things that people want to buy? So if no one is buying, should they stay in business?

        • Anonymous

          i’m not sure if you have shopped at crafty bastards, but part of the difficulty is navigating through the density of people. the browsers make it harder for the vendors to make sales.

          • Anonymous

            I get that it’s one thing to have a few curiosity-seekers who have absolutely no intention of spending a dime no matter what. But beyond that, how do we distinguish between the two in a browser-buyer hierarchy? Isn’t everyone technically a browser until the moment they buy something? Someone could fully intend/hope to buy, end up not seeing anything they like, and leave empty-handed. Or someone who just planned to browse could stumble across something they like and buy it. I’ve never attended, but I think if I were a vendor, I’d rather have too many browsers than too few. And if there crowds are so terrible that they get in the way of sales, is there another solution besides charging admission…like extending the fair to two weekends or something?

          • I think the new location ALONE will cut down on the crowds – Union Market is no AdMo.

      • Anonymous

        True, some people go to look and never buy anything…but another way to look at it is, how many people might decide on a whim to check out a craft show like this, not necessarily plan to buy anything, but end up seeing a couple of things they like and buying them on impulse? And how many of these people (ie, not craft-obsessed enough that they’re motivated to go no matter what) will find the $10 admission a disincentive and just decide not to go in the first place?

    • Anonymous

      How about the $10 gets you a credit towards your first purchase? Then the customers don’t feel like they’re getting ripped off and the vendors will get $10 more in purchases that the customers didn’t blow on the entry fee.

      • That’s a good idea – and probably the only way this can work.

      • RegO

        Great idea.

      • etcetera

        Great suggestion! I hope someone from Crafty Bastards reads this!

      • pchip

        This. Otherwise, I will pass.

      • wylie coyote

        I posted this same idea an hour before you and no one said anything. Timing is everything. LOL.

        • Anonymous

          Haha, sorry, I missed that post somehow!

      • Anonymous

        So who credits them, the vendors? How is that fair, considering there’s no way to spread the cost equitably across all vendors? In a generalized estimation of what could happen, you have the vendors closer to the door crediting people right and left, while the vendors at the back are off the hook because of the chance that a buyer has already received the credit.

        This is a bad idea. But then, so is the $10 admission.

        • Anonymous

          Merchandise near an entrance or exit always benefits from the whims of impulse buyers. How does it matter if they’re buying with a voucher or with cash? I would think most people would browse the other goods first anyway.

  • live from Columbia Heights

    well that should take care of any overcrowding concerns, lol.

  • Anonymous

    Not going now.

  • elisabeth

    I might have made the trek over if it was free, even though it’s no longer in my backyard. But a $10 cover? No way the mancat and I are paying $20 to look at crafts when we can see much of the same stuff for free at eastern market/AdMo day.

    • cottontails

      Not to mention the fact that almost every vendor has an etsy shop. While attending the fair in years past has certainly encouraged me to buy things I would have been hesitant to buy online, $10 entry fee completely reverses that situation.

  • anon

    Pros: this will cut down on the crowding significantly, both the location change and the admission charge

    Cons: Charging $10 admission might kill Crafty Bastards. How much of their attendance was people walking by? Nobody “walks by” the new market. and they won’t pop their head in for $10. If the vendors don’t see this worth their time they won’t bother to come back.

    If they were smart they would charge admission but figure out some way to apply at least a portion of that to purchases, some sort of voucher program. Unless Union Market is just charging them a flat fee for use of the space that they need to cover. Regardless, this does not bode well.

    • Anonymous


  • AC


  • j

    2 tiered ticketing system? F U.

    Anyone know of other flea markets, gray markets, etc. in the DC area which will offer comparable gifting items this fall/winter?

    • Anonymous

      nothing with the quality of crafty bastards. but try the downtown holiday market, eastern market, art spring, and keep an eye out for open studios. 52 o street does it, midcity, mount rainier ( which is the largest). also check out the h street festival, adams morgan day, arts on foot, GRUMP, the black cats rock n shop.

      • j


        “nothing with the quality of crafty bastards”
        You’re right but I think that in this respect, the event can be replaced by googling the names of the vendors who all sell the same stuff on their etsy/websites anyway.

        • Anonymous


      • beth

        Uh, actually, a few of us who are long time crafty bastards vendors are also Eastern Market vendors. I can think of at least 3.

        And in the winter another CB veteran and I put on a holiday show called GRUMP.

  • Amy

    Yeah, I’m not shelling out $10 for the privilege of shopping.

  • I love CB, but not paying $10 for the possibility of seeing something I like. What if I don’t find anything worth buying? Do I get my $10 back?


  • bb

    There must be a better way. $10 would be sort of OK if I knew I was going to buy something, but for a drop-in kind of event it doesn’t make sense. There isn’t $10 worth of ambience at Crafty Bastards.

  • wylie coyote

    Probably would be smarter if the $10 “admission” bought you two $5 tokens that you could apply to purchases from Crafty Bastards vendors. This way, you encourage everyone who comes in to spend at least $10.

  • Crafty

    I won’t go to it anymore.

    Someone should start another one at Mary Reed that enlists actual DC residents.

    • crafta

      A lot of us that have shown at crafty bastards are, in fact, DC residents.

  • Stephanie

    Have been every year since I moved here (2007). Won’t go this year. And I would have traveled to Union Market no problem. Clearly someone new is in charge for a $10 fee AND VIP TICKETS? good lord.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not very familiar with craft fairs, so maybe an admission charge is standard for these types of things, I don’t know. But the $10 admission seems a little off-putting (and the VIP ticketing just seems silly and pretentious). I wholly support the idea that vendors need to make a living, and I understand that ideally they want buyers, not just browsers. If the $10 goes to cover event costs, I’d rather the show organizers pass that cost on to the vendors and the vendors up their prices accordingly to compensate. Or it would even be more palatable if the fair doubled as a fundraiser and the $10 admission cost went to a charity–you could weed out some of the less-interested attendees, but people would still feel like their money went somewhere worthwhile if they didn’t any up buying any crafts. But paying $10 essentially just for the privilege of buying something is a little much, in my opinion.

  • I could be ok with the $10 if they told you what it went toward. Is there a rental fee for the indoor space because they can’t fit at the rec center anymore? Does a portion go to the crafters themselves? A donation to some sort of organization?

  • An entrance fee is very standard for craft shows around the country, and ten dollars is less than many I’ve been to (the Waterford Fair, for example, which is quite expensive and requires a two hour drive, though it is a lovely way to spend a day).

    • Dave

      haha – compare the names (Waterford Fair vs. Crafty Bastards) Seems like a different audience!

      • anon

        Yeah, and it’s not just the name. The larger craft festivals like Sugarloaf are juried events with a much “higher end” offerings (and I realize that is a loaded term). No offense to the CB vendors, I’ve bought gifts and home stuff every year they’ve operated, but there is a big difference between t-shirts and knitted monsters and handcrafted woodworking/jewelry/stoneware that often reaches into the thousands and tens or thousands of dollars. I’d pay $10 to browse and ogle the latter (entry to these things is usually much more than that), but not the former.

        • Anonymous

          crafty bastards is juried.

          • anon

            True, and fair enough. But ask yourself: when presented to the jury of one of these established regional craft fairs, what are the chances of the typical Crafty Bastards vendor even getting a serious look? Again, it’s a matter of degree and, sadly, perception of value

    • Anonymous


  • cover

    $10 cover for “crafts”?

    Hehehe…yeah ok. Good luck with that.

    I’ve been once and the reason people don’t buy anything is because generally the offerings are cheap and undesirable. Charging $10 bucks to get in doesn’t make it less so.

    • Anonymous

      Exactly. For those of us who don’t wear screenprinted tees or have a need for stuffed monster-animals there’s not much to buy. I went one year, hoping I could get some early Christmas shopping done, but most of the stuff was overpriced or not generally appealing. I ended up getting some $10 reversible fabric headbands, even though I knew I could make my own with fabric scraps for next to nothing, and some crazy yarn that just looked fun, but that was more out of a sense of obligation since I was already there. I do a lot of Etsy shopping and knew there were better buys to be had there, even with the shipping charges.

  • I was going to attend, simply due to the fact that it’s named “Crafty Bastards.”

  • Anonymous

    Those bastards!!!

  • Lynn

    I am often hearing ‘too much’ of juried ‘higer end items’. The reason there is a need for venues like this Crafty Bastard event is because there is a large audience who loves and values ‘lower end’ unique, quirky and original works of art.

    So, not knocking either just recognizing that ‘high end’ does not mean better or more valued…or original for that matter. It can but both have value.

    And, Crafty Bastard events allow the unique vendor the op to show their works and introduce themselves to an diverse audience.
    And, the fee may be related to having to pay for this New venue. I’m sure that is it.

    But, hopefully they can address this as I want to vend but from these boards it looks like….a no go for many. Sigh..:)

  • $10 less to spend on stuffed mustaches, t-shirts with mustaches, and purses with birds (and mustaches) on them.

    • Anonymous

      Ha! You just described the merchandise at CB perfectly.

      (really, what is it with all the mustaches?)

  • wp

    I’ll happily pay my $10 to help support Crafty Bastards. It’s moved from public property to private and I assume a cost comes with that. It’s also being held in a neighborhood that’s being turned around and I want to support Union Market so that I can shop there into the future.

    Would I prefer it were still a 10 minute walk from my apt and free? Sure, but $10 isn’t that much and I care more about having viable craft fairs and growing neighborhoods than nickle and dime whining.

  • Farrar

    The thing is, the merchants were decidedly NOT hurting. In the last two years, I saw many places sell out by afternoon of many items if not practically their whole stock. I’d pay a couple of dollars to subsidize the space, but $10 seems steep when you consider how many people attended in the past. That’s a HUGE amount of cash coming in and for what?

    Anyone organizing an Anti-Crafty Bastards fair? I’d be there.

    • Zeal

      I agree! This is the perfect opportunity to add another craft festival back in the Reed area, someone should jump on it! :)

      • Anonymous

        if it is even possible anymore.
        which i doubt it is.

        i don’t think the Crafty Bastards people have done a good job explaining the switch, but why would anyone think they would do this if they didn’t have to?

  • I’ll gladly pay the $10 to support the event.

    Stay at home, cheap skates! More pickings for me.

  • Anonymous

    Never could figure out why people buy that kind of useless craft stuff. Do they feel sorry for the artists? Hand carved wooden bowls, hand thrown raku coffee mugs maybe. Hideous useless knitted things, hand stitched bags that fall apart with any use, copper bent jewelry that turns green on your skin? What is the point?

    • Right…. cause that’s all you can pick up there. I must be confused and have purchased that sweet goatskin leather wallet at some store ,not last years CB fair. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Anonymous

    Wow. As a vendor at Crafty Bastards the past few years I of course have some questions about all the changes but why has this turned in to a forum to trash the people who work really hard to produce what you see there. Not everyone is going to love what you make and I understand that but the tone this has taken is really sad. So many of us there are actually DC residents and reason why you see a lot of out of town vendors is because Crafty Bastards has really good reputation nationally. That makes CB very hard to get into and really pushes us all to create our best work that so many of you sadly think is crap.

    • beth b.


      Crafty Bastards is the best show in the region. It’s well organized, super nice and respectful to the vendors and well curated. And it’s not unusual to charge for admission- the Bust Craftacular has an entrance fee in NYC and that thing is MOBBED.
      I’m excited for the new location- it’s in my neighborhood now.
      I have been a vendor at Crafty for many years, and I’m also a vendor at Eastern Market on the weekends. I don’t even know if some of the commenters leave their parts of the city to go explore the other neighborhoods. Yeah, there’s nothing like CB at the other markets, but there’s nothing like CB in the entire REGION. Maybe Renegade in Brooklyn- but I’ve never been so I can’t say for sure.

      TO the people who are saying “Someone should have a new fair in Marie Reed” -go ahead. Do it. Or maybe try it.
      DC makes it increasingly difficult and expensive to do anything. There are always new permits, fees and regulations that pop up every year.
      One year- i think it was 3 Crafty’s ago, someone with a DC gov lanyard around their neck came up to my tent and rattled it accusing me of not having it weighed down. I’m pretty sure they were trying to shake me down for a bribe but as I was on the tennis court area, in the corner of the court surrounded on two sides by a chain link fence, i had lashed the two back legs of my tent with zip-ties to the fence. So i ziptied the 3rd leg in front of him and he audibly said “….oh” and went to shake down the next person.

      When you put on a show, you (the organizers) have one fee (the start of many, many fees) that is based per tent. I put on a teeeeny tiny show a few years ago on N st. and I think then the fee was $45/tent. And that doesn’t include a performance stage. Which, if there is one, there’s another fee for sending an inspector out to check it….i could go on, i’m so aggravated by the stupid comments I’m seeing everywhere, so I will just leave it at this- if you think it’s so easy, go do it yourself. After all, that is the true spirit of DIY, right?

      • Anonymous

        Amen miss Betty.

  • Gene

    I won’t attend this year because of the $10 door charge, and I’ll be interested to see if the attendance drops because of the charge. The organizers are about making money–bottom line–not about throwing a fun craft fair. The old Crafty in Adams Morgan was a blast because of the proximity of 18th Street restaurants and bars. The weather was usually nice, and it was a fun day outside. I hope they bring the fair back to it’s home on 18th Street. That’s where it belongs.


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