When organizers of the hugely popular holiday art sale the Little Craft Show announced they would not host a 2016 show earlier this year, members of the local arts & craft community were in a panic.
Several local makers had come to rely on the event as an important part of their livelihood, while others depended on it as a source of needed revenue for the holiday season.
Some folks were just plain bummed to see one of their favorite things about Fayetteville come to an abrupt end.
Luckily for all of those people, three local artists have quickly stepped up to try and fill the void left by the Little Craft Show, with plans to create a new event that they hope will become a new holiday tradition in Fayetteville.
Chad Maupin (Big Bot Design), Olivia Trimble (Sleet City Signwriting), and Payton Bridewell (The Window Shopper) have teamed up to create the first ever Wampus Wonderland holiday art show on Saturday, Dec. 10 at the Washington County Fairgrounds.
The artists came together once they realized they were all scrambling to create a new holiday event for their fellow local makers.
“When the Little Craft Show made their announcement, we were all just getting slammed with people asking, ‘Well, what are we going to do,'” Maupin said.
“It became apparent that we had to do something,” Bridewell added.
Maupin was in the midst of planning a pop-up trunk show called the Cattywampus Co-op when they heard the news. The small event turned out to be a huge success, and that, along with the connection and cooperation with Trimble and Bridewell gave him the confidence to move forward with creating the first ever Wampus Wonderland.
When: Saturday, Dec. 10
Where: Washington County Fairgrounds
What: A holiday arts & crafts show
The three formed a new organization under the Cattywampus Co-op name, and set about contacting vendors about participating in their new show.
The response has been predictably positive.
“When we emailed people saying ‘Oh, I think we’re going to put together a show,’ I think 97% of them wrote back and said ‘Thank you,'” Bridewell said. “We opened applications last week, and we already have over 50, which is amazing.”
Like the Little Craft Show, the event will feature dozens of artists, crafters, and makers of all sorts of things from Fayetteville and around the region. The new event will also include local food vendors, craft cocktails, beer, music, and more.
With the new personalities, however, the overall aesthetic and decor of the show will be a little different. Maupin described the feel of Wampus Wonderland as “more kitchy Christmas” then “fancy Etsy shop.”
“It’s not going to be precious or twee,” Trimble added. “Think Stranger Things meets the craziest Christmas party you’ve ever been to. With lots of gold lamé.”
Trimble said that while the new show is a juried show, she hopes to encourage a diverse collection of artists to participate in the event.
“We are making an effort to reach out to not only this new generation of young makers, but we’re also trying to actively include the older artists in the Ozarks who’ve laid the foundation for the rest of us,” Trimble said.
“Basically if your stuff is cool, we want you,” Bridewell added.
The event will take place from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. inside three buildings on the Washington County Fairgrounds property. Maupin said the new venue is actually larger than what the group is used to, which will allow the group to add space for dining, drinking, dancing, and socializing to the event to encourage attendees to spend some time hanging out at the show.
“We’re excited to have a place for people to congregate,” Bridewell said.
The first 100 shoppers at Wampus Wonderland will get a free swag bag full of locally made items, and the show will be absolutely free to attend.
We got the feeling in talking with Maupin, Bridewell, and Trimble, as they erupted with ideas and excitement in our meeting, that the best and most creative ideas are still to come.
“We want to throw a giant party that feels like a collective hug to everyone who is a part of it,” Maupin said. “Like a love letter to Fayetteville. I’m pretty busy, so I’m not doing this because I don’t have enough to do. It means a lot to me to be in these shows. It’s important to me, and to a lot of people I think. We’re just glad to be able to keep that going.”
The group is currently seeking volunteers, vendors, and sponsors for the event. Visit their website to get involved.
To stay up to date as the first ever Wampus Wonderland continues to take shape, check out the official Facebook page for the event.