Aiken’s Makin’ kicks off two-day run on Park Avenue
Shopping together at Aiken’s Makin’ is a not-to-be-missed bonding experience for Jennifer Huntley and her parents, Doug and Debra Lyn Pryor.
They were among the early arrivals Friday as the 42nd edition of the juried arts and crafts show got underway at 9 a.m. on Park Avenue.
“It’s become a family tradition,” Huntley said. “We’ve been meeting up here on Friday for about five years now. We like walking around and seeing all the things that people make. We also like being together, and we like the food, especially the stuffed hushpuppies. They’re our favorites.”
Huntley was looking at wooden spoons in the Off Cut Art booth. Later, she planned to check out the pottery and soap being offered by other vendors.
“It’s really fun to meet the artists,” Debra Lyn said. “They come from all over, and they usually have interesting stories to tell.”
More than 170 producers and sellers of handmade items are at Aiken’s Makin this year.
They include Kerry Dortch of Ila, Georgia, which is about 17 miles north of Athens.
His business is called The Puppet Farm and its display has a barn, wood fencing and an outhouse that Dortch called “The Puppet Pooper.”
Dortch’s puppets are white furry creatures with black noses and blue eyes. Some are babies and some are adults.
When asked what kind of animals they are, Dortch replied: “We think they may be about 50 percent lemur and about 2 percent hound dog. The rest we don’t really know.”
Dortch missed Aiken’s Makin’ in 2017 because he was sick.
“But I was here the two or three years prior to that,” he said. “This is the kind of event that crafters really look for. For one thing, it’s a money show. People in this town have money to spend. And the other thing is there are a lot of people who come out here every year. And they bring their kids.”
Another vendor, Georgia-based Ginny’s Fudge and Nuts, is a family business that has been an Aiken’s Makin’ vendor for more than 20 years, said co-owner Steve Mathews.
Ginny’s offers 50 or so flavors of fudge. Among them are Creamsicle, maple bacon, peanut butter and jelly, banana pudding and bubble gum.
There also are other sweet treats in the Ginny’s Fudge booth such as rock candy and caramel pecan turtles. In addition, cinnamon roasted almonds, pecans and cashews are available.
“We have products you don’t hang on the wall or put on a shelf,” Mathews said. “People consume them, so they come back every year and buy more. They tell us they really like the creaminess of our fudge.”
Ed Hutto of St. Matthews is a first-time seller at Aiken’s Makin’. He was encouraging shoppers to sit down and try out his Adirondack chairs. He also had benches, tables and footstools for sale.
“A lot of other vendors told me what a great show it is,” he said. “They talked glowingly about it, so I’m very anxious to see how it goes.”
About an hour later, Hutto reported: “It’s been good. I’ve gotten a lot of traffic. I haven’t gotten any money to put it my pocket yet, but that’ll come.”
Aiken’s Makin’s hours for its final day, Saturday, are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“In total, we figure that around 30,000 to 35,000 people will come through here,” said the event’s co-chair, John McMichael.