Award Winning Aiken's Makin' turns 35Aiken's Makin' is getting ready to celebrate a milestone, and the excitement is building for the event's 35th birthday.
The popular show is just 15 days away, and soon the parkways and streets will come alive with enthusiastic shoppers, the aroma of delicious food, and the pleasant sounds of children playing as nearly 30,000 visitors flock to downtown Aiken.
"We're ready," said Aiken's Makin' Co-chair Shelia Taylor, First Citizens Bank. "Artisans and crafters are busy building their inventories; food vendors are stocking up; and committee leaders are checking off their punch lists for the 179 exhibitors and 27 food vendors."
Co-chair John McMichael, Hutson-Etherredge
Companies, agreed and said he is ready for the big Chamber event. "The level of enthusiasm and energy of our many volunteers and the Chamber professional staff is just infectious. It's been fun preparing for this special event with everyone. I'm anxious to see it all come together," McMichael said.
Aiken's Makin' began as a small sidewalk event that showcased products produced in Aiken County 35 years ago. The event caught on and has grown significantly over the years. Today, Aiken's Makin' is an honored tradition that features artisans and crafters from as far away as New York and New England.
"It isn't long before anyone moving to the CSRA hears about the incredible craft show the Aiken Chamber puts on in September. In fact, Aiken's Makin' has become known throughout the Southeast as something you really need to check out," said Steve Wilson, SRP Federal Credit Union, and the Chamber's vice chair of Business and Community Development.
Retired Chamber President June Murff continues to tout the goodwill of Aiken's Makin'. "The fact that Aiken's Makin' is still here, and just as popular as ever, speaks well of the community support for this event. It adds to our economy, and it's a great draw and introduction to Aiken. I attend every year," said Murff, who, as president of the Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce from 1981-2002, oversaw the event for 21 years.
This year's show will have something for everyone. Casual and serious shoppers will find many unique pieces of art and handmade crafts available this year. Selections range from pottery, glass art, and wood creations to children's clothing and accessories. There will be jewelry, baked goods, homemade candy, sweetgrass baskets, and yard art, as well as many other unique handcrafted items from around the Southeast.
"I suggest you come downtown on Friday and Saturday as the selections may change each day, especially with the artisans who make one-of-a-kind pieces. I guarantee there will be something for people of all ages," said Taylor.
The record number of applicants this year speaks well of the event's regional popularity and helps to ensure a quality mix of art, crafts, and food, according to McMichael. "The rigorous examination process of every application provides for a showcase of unique and diverse products," he said.
When it comes time to take a break from shopping and eat lunch, attendees will have several selections from which to choose. The number of food vendors was increased this year to allow for more variety on the menu. Selections include Greek, Mexican, Cajun, and Caribbean specialties; hot dogs and hamburgers, seafood, popcorn, funnel cakes, and ice cream to mention a few.
In addition to arts, crafts, and food, entertainment that creates an artistic ambiance and provides a consistent connection to the arts will be performed on Saturday.