The smell of the freshly mowed lawn lingered and the brilliant, blue sky provided the perfect backdrop to the colorful vendor tents for the Fall Arts and Crafts Festival on October 15th from 10am-3pm at the lower parking lot near the Stone House at Costello Park.
Upon entering the area, folks were greeted by Monica Ventura and Emily Compton. These young ladies are members of the teen MP3 recreation program at the Community Center. The MP3 program is a lightly supervised place for teens to gather after school for fun, safe, and challenging group activities.
Today, both girls were volunteering and were also hoping there would be l
ots of small kids at this event because they love working with kids. The girls told everyone entering about the special area set up for kids with a moon bounce, face painting, and lots of games. “We all want to be with the kids,” Ventura explained.
After saying hello to the greeters, you couldn’t help but to notice the variety of crafts including handmade, one of a kind jewelry, tutu’s, make-up, clothing, aprons, dreamcatchers, and wreathes of all shapes and sizes glittering in the sun! There was even a children’s author who was there to talk about and to personally sign copies for anyone who bought her book.
Kaitlyn Collier, Special Events Assistant who had been planning for events for several weeks, said she was happy with the results. “We received such positive feedback from the people attending (who were thrilled with their purchases) to the vendors who were happy to make lots of sales!” Collier added.
“It’s all about the attitude, and if you spice up a good attitude with some sass, you really can’t lose!” said Shelia Logan of Shelia Logan Designs. She added, “Go sassy—that’s what I always tell everyone who looks at my pieces.” Her jewelry included many beaded earrings, bracelets, and necklaces, but what really caught your eye was the pieces she made from different kinds of metals.
The smell of fresh vanilla enticed patrons towards Jessica Arnold and her Perfectly Posh naturally based pampering products including hand-made make-up and lotions. “I love selling these items because I believe they truly help you look great,” said Arnold. “And some of our product names really crack me up like this gender-bender lotion called hunk junk or our stripper body detoxifier,” she added with a grin.
Shannon Diaz lives in Manassas and began making tutus for her three daughters who are all dancers. “Wow, these are too cute for words,” exclaimed Manassas Park resident Darilyn Gould.
Another Manassas Park resident, Stephen Bruestle, was there with his 2-year-old daughter, Merrie. They were taking off Merrie’s shoes and getting ready for her turn in the moon bounce. “I was driving by, saw the tents, and thought this looked interesting. I am so glad we stopped in,” he said, “My daughter spent the summer splashing around at Signal Bay Water Park, and has discovered that she loves to tumble.”
Mother and daughter Cindy Short and Paula Weissend like to come to all the events at the Community Center. They planned to attend before their kids and grandkids had their tee ball games. “We came early to beat the crowds,” said Paula. “We enjoy this because there is a fun, safe place for the kids to play while we get to shop!” they said while giggling.
Anthony Macias, owner of Potomac Candle, said his company is veteran-owned and that his bestsellers are the citrus basil, grapefruit vanilla, and lavender lemonade candles. “I do a lot of my business online, and I like to get out and talk to people to get ideas for new scents,” he said.
Children’s book author Takisha Payne, said she loves interacting with the children. “My book titled, Bitsy Bop wants to Hippity Hop, is a book with a positive message to believe in yourself no matter what. “I grew up in this area, and this character is a compilation of the many people I have encountered along the way. I love to see what the kids think after they read my book and I am hoping to turn it into a series because I feel kids can never get enough positive influences in their lives,” she added.
Residents Brenda Blair and Coralle Burge really enjoyed speaking with the author and said they really agreed with her message. Brenda said she wasn’t planning to buy anything, but saw earrings and a necklace, and ended up buying both. “This was handmade and I got a great deal,” she explained.
So, next time you see a sign or a Facebook post about the craft festival at the Community Center, plan to attend. You will be really happy you did!
Maria Bosack is the Writer/Content Specialist for the City of Manassas Park, Department of Parks and Recreation. She can be reached at 703-335-8872, or via email at M.Bosack@manassasparkva.gov