Emily Dorn, co-owner of VIX Emporium, says that she and her fellow Go West! Craft Fest organizers were initially hesitant to move the fair to The Woodlands—and not only because it would be surrounded by gravesites. “It’s not like a park with walk-by traffic,” she says, adding that it took a bit more planning to carve out a space for the craft fest that would drive foot traffic. “But it’s historic and special, and … we ended up with a good outcome.”
On May 3, The Woodlands will host the semi-annual Go West! Craft Fest for the fifth time, bringing 120 vendors selling handmade arts and crafts to the site of the historic mansion and cemetery. The festival moved to The Woodlands for its spring and fall editions in 2012, after several years in other neighborhood locations.
Go West! was created by Mike Straight, a designer who creates reclaimed ceramic jewelry, and his wife, Wilder Scott-Straight, who makes handmade and upcycled children’s clothing. The couple, who continue to organize the event with Dorn, wanted to shine a light on their neighborhood's thriving arts scene.
The first incarnation of Go West!, as the monthly Satellite Second Saturday in August 2009, brought eight vendors to the small triangle in front of the Satellite Café at 50th and Baltimore. In April 2011, it was renamed and moved to Cedar Park, growing to welcome 2,000 visitors at last fall’s event at The Woodlands.
“Our focus is for local crafters and artists to have another forum for their work, and for our West Philadelphia neighborhood to have a fun, unique event while exploring the beauty of The Woodlands,” Scott-Straight says. “It’s a great way for crafters just starting out in the marketplace to show their wares alongside more experienced makers.”
story by Shaun Brady