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Arts and crafts expected to draw more than 25,000

September 24, 2005|by TRISH RUDDER

trishr@herald-mail.com

HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. - Close to 200 vendors from all over the country were showing their wares Friday at the 30th annual Fall Mountain Heritage Arts and Crafts Festival near Harpers Ferry.

The vendors were set up under large tents, and the heat did not seem to deter the crowd from looking and shopping.

Patsy Fann, owner of Playful Puppets Inc. of Great Falls, Va., said she makes most of the puppets she sells.

"The puppets can swallow and spit, too," she said, and they are early childhood tools for teaching children with speech or chewing disorders. The articulators - the tongue, teeth and lips - are the visual means for them to see, Fann said.

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Fann, who is a former teacher, said the puppets are used in the school system as a learning tool. She said she has been doing craft shows for about 20 years and enjoys it.

Tim Johnson, the photographer for Living Images of Falling Waters, W.Va., was dressed in a Civil War costume.

Johnson's artwork displayed black-and-white photographs of Civil War "ghosts."

Johnson said he uses re-enactors of Civil War soldiers at historic battlefields to get the double exposure for his "ghosts."

Johnson said he shoots photos in eight states where battles were fought, from Gettysburg, Pa., to Fort Morgan, Ala.

He said he has been attending the festival for 10 years.

"I think it will be a good show because of the Christmas shoppers," Johnson said.

Vintage Revival makes broken china jewelry, and there was a crowd around its booth. Jacque Smiley, the owner, said it is a family-run business in Martha, Okla.

"This is my favorite show," she said.

Smiley said she has been a designer for 30 years and has participated in shows in Austria, Germany and Spain. She said she shops at flea markets in France to buy damaged china.

"We try to make things people use," Smiley said. "We will take your old buttons, china and antique flatware" and customize them.

Paul and Jean Fitzhugh of Martinsburg, W.Va., have been attending the Mountain Heritage Festivals for 26 years.

"We just enjoy it," Jean Fitzhugh said. "The crafts are just excellent. We look at every tent."

"The crafts are top of the line," Paul Fitzhugh said.

More than 25,000 people are expected to attend the three-day festival, said Mary Via, executive director of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, the show's sponsor.

"Fridays are usually slower with locals and serious buyers," Via said. "I'm surprised at the good crowd and very thankful."

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