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John Lamb, Published February 22 2012

Unglued Craft Fest planned at Plains

If you go

What: Unglued: Craft Fest

When: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday

Where: Plains Art Museum, 704 1st Ave. N., Fargo

Info: Free. (701) 232-3821

FARGO – The Unglued movement is really starting to stick in Fargo-Moorhead.

Two months after the Unglued Christmas Market found overwhelming success in a seasonal storefront on Broadway, the Unglued Craft Fest sets up in the Plains Art Museum this Saturday.

This is a big step forward from the first Unglued Craft Fest last year, which packed 38 vendors into the upstairs of the American Legion Building.

Saturday’s free event hosts 65 creative kiosks spread over all three floors of the Plains. DJs and live acts will provide music and food, coffee and spirits will be available for shoppers.

Unglued organizer Ashley Morken says the move to the Plains not only allows room to grow, it also elevates how craft is considered by the viewer.

“In our minds it really combines the fine arts with the creative crafting scene in Fargo,” the West Fargo woman says. “It’s nice to be supported by artists creative venue.”

The need for a bigger space was evident from almost the beginning of last year’s event. More than 2,000 curious craft connoisseurs scoured for finds throughout the day and some walked away, unwilling to wade through the crowds.

“It was way more than the legion building can handle,” Morken says, adding there will be much more room to roam at the Plains.

That was also the impression of Tonya Scott, the store manager at the Plains. She was at last year’s event and impressed by the turnout of both artists and patrons.

“It was a great crowd, a good variety of ages, art, music and food,” Scott says.

She and Mark Ryan, director of collections and operations at the Plains, approached the Unglued troupe about bringing the show to the Plains.

Scott likes that the craft show will bring thousands of young creative types into the museum. The Plains hopes to show off the space by waiving admission to the galleries.

And as the manager of the Plains store, she’s always looking at what is available and what people are buying.

“I’m excited to see what new, interesting things they have to show,” Scott says.

Morken says the expanded roster of vendors also expands the scope of the crafts. New this year will be a table of lamps manufactured from vintage items, a collection of journals reusing the covers from children’s books. Returning favorites from last year like handmade soaps, jewelry, handbags and felted beasties.

Both Morken and Scott are excited that poster artist Miss Amy Jo, who was part of last year’s show, returns this year, tying in with a display of her art at the Plains.

Morken thinks this year’s fair could draw as many as 4,000 throughout the day. Such a success could push forward plans for a year-round Unglued space to sell and help others get turned on to crafts.

“We really hope we can make a permanent, handmade gift shop where we can have workshops and art shows,” she says.

Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533