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American Crafts Festival Celebrates 35 Years of Artistry

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Tents have ben pitched at Lincoln Center Plaza for the American Crafts Festival, celebrating its 35 anniversary this weekend and next. Over 200,000 guests are expected to attend the event, sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts, which features the original, hand-crafted creations of 400 master artisans.

While the majority of the booths will display jewelry and fiber-related creations, items composed of other materials including glass, wood leather, clay and parchment will also be for sale. More than 35,000 pieces will be on view, with artists hailing from 41 states as well as Canada, Argentina, Israel and Mexico.

The festival is free to attend, and pieces range from around $75 to $225.  However, there are some stand-out price stickers, most notably that of an original, life-sized bronze sculpture of a ballet dancer that runs for $63,000. Most craft artists accept major credit cards.

Aattendees can also enjoy music and specialty foods. Classical violinist Lenny Khmel will be playing continuously for the duration of the festival, while The JB Baretsky Ensemble will perform hits from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s on June 11 and 19 and pop vocalist and guitarist Christine Sweeney will perform on June 12 and 18. Food and dessert concessions--touted as healthful, delicious, and well-priced--include sweet and savory crepes, hand-crafted pretzels and authentic Mediterranean cuisine.

Nineteen craft demonstrations have additionally been organized for the two weekends, with standouts including “Byzantine style chain making” on June 11 and 12, “2D Mixed Media” on June 18 and 19 and “Leather Handbags” both weekends.

The festival will take place at Damrosch Park and the North Plaza at 64th Street and Columbus Avenue in Manhattan; it will run from 12 P.M. to 9 P.M. on Saturdays and 10 A.M. to 9 P.M. on Sundays, June 11, 12, 18 and 19.