In recent years, arts and crafts shows have become very popular in the Washington D.C. area. Here is a guide to the major annual craft shows in Washington D.C., Maryland, and Northern Virginia. Community groups, churches, and schools also sponsor smaller events throughout the year.
Sugarloaf Craft Festivals
The Sugarloaf Craft Festival organizes several shows throughout the year with two locations in the Washington D.C. area: Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Gaithersburg, Maryland and Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Virginia. The shows feature the crafts of 500 artists, including jewelry, wood, leather, clothing, sculpture, glass, and more. There will also be live music and artisan refreshments.
Smithsonian Craft + Design Show
At the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., this April show exhibits the works of 120 exceptional craft artists, including basketry, ceramics, decorative fiber, furniture, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media, paper, wearable art, and wood. Whether you're an art collector or just curious, artworks of all price points can be found here.
Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival
One of the top art festivals in all of the U.S., the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival features more than 200 artisans in 18 different categories, including oil and acrylic painting, photography, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, jewelry, metal, leather, wood, furniture, wearable, and fiber art. Put on every May in Reston, Virginia, this festival is one of the best ways to familiarize yourself with the country's up-and-coming artists.
In Virginia's Old Town Alexandria this outdoor art festival lines six blocks of King Street showcasing sculptures, paintings, photography, glass, jewelry and more. It takes place every September for two days and is free to attend.
At the Woodmont Triangle, just two blocks from the Bethesda Metro Station, this two-day event in October highlights over 200 contemporary artists who will sell their original fine art and fine craft. The fall festival features the works of more than 180 of the nation’s finest artists. The family-friendly event also includes some of the area’s best street performers, musical acts, food, and dining plus hands-on children’s art activities. Arts and crafts include photography, jewelry, glass, ceramics, drawings and pastels, oil painting, watercolor, wood, metalwork, fiber, printmaking, sculpture, digital art, and mixed media.
In Frederick, Maryland, about an hour's drive from D.C., the holiday season brings the return of the Maryland Christmas Show. In December, you can enjoy the works of 500 artists and craftsmen offering fine art, pottery, furniture, quilts, jewelry, clothing, wreaths and garlands, toys, and Christmas ornaments.
In the heart of the nation's capital, the Downtown Holiday Market takes place once a year from late November to mid-December on the F Street sidewalk in front of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery. The event features fine art, crafts, jewelry, pottery, photography, clothing, prepared food, and more.