AIKEN - Aiken's Makin', which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, has built up quite a following in the past three decades, and savvy vendors are well aware of the event's reputation.
"I do really well here. I have a lot of good customers, repeat customers," said Alta Miller, of Blackville, as she stitched a quilted wall-hanging on her lap.
Ms. Miller, who has displayed her handmade quilts at Aiken's Makin' for about 20 years, also has become familiar with her customers' habits through the years.
The serious shoppers come out on Saturdays, she said.
She is not the only crafter who knows the routine.
Russell Clemmer Jr., of Orangeburg, discovered that there can be a trick to getting in the juried show in the first place.
He and his wife, Margaret, have displayed their wood crafts for 11 years. However, Mr. Clemmer said, they were turned down twice before they were able to become part of the show.
Finally, at age 70, he said, he enclosed a note with their application saying that they would like to take part in the show at least once.
"And it worked," he said. "People that are our friends in the craft business told us how good the show was."
A number of patrons stopped to watch Adeline Mayzck, of Mount Pleasant, weave her baskets made of sweet grass, palmetto, pine needles and bull rushes.
"It's a good show. People are very friendly," said Ms. Mayzck, who has participated for five years. "I hope to do a lot more Aiken shows."
Glenda Hamilton, of Martinez, and her daughter, Wendy Gill, of Grovetown, are regular visitors to the event.
"We come every year," said Mrs. Hamilton, who bought a quilted carry-on bag and a cutting board.
She entertained her tearful 2-year-old grandson, Andrew, and fed a bottle to his brother, Avery, 10 months old, while her daughter browsed through the booths.
Was this the start of a tradition of bringing the youngest family members to the show?
"I hope not," said Mrs. Hamilton with a good-natured laugh.
Reach Betsy Gilliland at (803) 648-1395, ext. 113, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Aiken's Makin'
WHERE: Parkways along Park Avenue between Chesterfield and Union streets, including Gyles Park
WHEN: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today