Crafty Bastards 2010: 5 tips if you're going to Saturday's craft fair

1. LEAVE YOUR NUNCHUKS AT HOME
If you’ve always dreamed of attending an event in Adams Morgan without being punched in the face, Crafty Bastards may — may — be the one. Washington City Paper’s annual craft fair will bring more than 150 vendors of handmade oohs and oddities to the grounds of the Marie H. Reed Learning Center on Saturday, and the only echo of the scene outside a post-last-call jumbo-slice joint in just how crowded the darn thing gets. Your self-defense needs will likely go no further than “guiding” a stroller away from your foot or outrunning a guy on stilts.

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Crafty Bastards
Photo by Nole Garey of Oh So Beautiful Paper (ohsobeautifulpaper.com)

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5 things that'll make your visit to @craftybastards better.

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2. MAKE A MAP BEFORE YOU GO

Crafty Bastards draws crafters whose names give the vapors to people who own lots of textured yarn: Jay McCarroll, Pinecone and Chickadee, and Jon Wye to name a few. “I kind of have this nerdy map, and I write down what I want to see and where their booths are,” says Beth Baldwin, whom City Paper readers have voted Best Local Crafter for two years in a row. Maybe that’s why after two years in what she calls “the Cage” — the tennis courts on the south end of Marie Reed — Baldwin’s Tigerflight has a primo spot in the midway just past the welcome booth. Baldwin mentions Biggs & Featherbelle and El Jefe as two vendors she’s hoping to find time to visit — maybe once she runs out of the 55 stuffed owls, 20 squirrels, and the “couple of penguins and cats” she’s made in her sleepless nights pre-fest. There’s a map in this week’s City Paper if you like to touch things made out of paper.

3. RELAX ABOUT THE B-BOY BATTLE, IT GOES ON ALL DAY NOW

Everybody likes the B-Boy Battle. “Is there other music?” asks TBD’s Sommer Mathis when asked if she’s enjoyed anything else over her years of attendance. (Note: Mathis will be there as early as possible this year, shopping for baby clothes, maybe. Last year she bought a “fun little hat with earflaps” for herself. I'm looking forward to the hat’s office debut come the cold.) “We used to do a whole range of entertainment” says Kimberly Dorn, one of the festival’s organizers. Previous performers who were not B-boy battlers include the Aquarium, Statehood, and Taffety Punk Theatre Company. But attendees were mostly excited about the B-Boy Battle, she says, “so we pretty much made it almost a full-day thing.” Remember: “Watching people practice is just as good,” Dorn says.

4. YOU DON’T NEED TO RUN UP TO JULIA’S FOR LUNCH

In addition to a new recycling program, Crafty has a “much larger food court” this year, Dorn says. You'll have a rare opportunity to sample Madam's Organ food while sober; also there will be Shawarma Spot, Curbside Cupcakes (truck will be pulled up out front; line up early), and the intriguingly named Jamaica Celebration of Life. The Black Squirrel will be there for the third year in a row, serving nothing but bratwurst and hamburgers. “We sold out last year, so we’re bringing more,” says Black Squirrel owner Amy Bowman. You might expect the food needs of a craft fair to lean more toward vegetarian samosas. “I guess they really like some good old American fare,” says Bowman. Will the 500 burgers and 500 brats Bowman’s bringing take her past 2:30, when Black Squirrel was left meatless last year? “I think we’ll definitely make it to the end this time,” Bowman says.

5. IT’S A RARE CHANCE TO EXPERIENCE THE REST OF ADMO WITHOUT DODGING VOMITING FRAT BOYS AND PEOPLE "HELPING" YOU FIND A PARKING SPACE

tigerflight owls
Baldwin's owls prepare to meet their new owners

At the Black Squirrel’s stationary location up the street, there’ll be a beer event featuring seven beers from Cleveland’s Great Lakes Brewery. It goes on from noon “until we close at 3 a.m. or as long as the beer lasts,” says Bowman, and will feature what she thinks is the last keg of Great Lakes’ Oktoberfest (served in one-liter steins; take public transport of walk, please) in D.C. Also available at Black Squirrel: “hanky pankies,” a Cleveland treat that Bowman describes as “ground beef served on rye bread with melted cheese and sauteed onions on top.” Other AdMo businesses are getting in on the crush of craft-loving humanity: completing a neighborhood scavenger hunt pre-fair enters you into a drawing for some sweet prizes.

Crafty Bastards runs from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Marie H. Reed Learning Center, 18th Street at Wyoming Avenue NW. Thanks to Nole Garey for the photo and apologies that linking within photo credits isn't working right. Visit her at Oh So Beautiful Paper. Full disclosure: I used to work at Washington City Paper.

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