Aiken's Makin' keeps event new

Kathleen Hudson (center) and her daughters Emily (from left), Caitlin and Jessica look through the dolls at Nianne's Crafts & Things from Harlem during the 2011 Aiken's Makin.' The festival is Sept. 7-8 in Aiken.

It’s that time of year again. Football is in the air, and so is the smell of funnel cakes, sausage dogs with peppers and onions and crab cakes.


The same breeze that floats those delectable smells through downtown Aiken will rustle hand-stitched dresses and carved windchimes at the 36th annual Aiken’s Makin’.

The festival kicks off at 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 7, and will continue from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8.

More than a third of the 180 exhibitors are new this year, said coordinator Dianne Phillips of The Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce.

Because the event is juried, each vendor application is reviewed to make sure that the products displayed are hand crafted, with an emphasis on bringing in new vendors.

“We’re always keeping the show fresh that way,” Phillips said.

One new exhibitor that sticks out in Phillips’ mind is Unique Coconut, which features whimsical lamp-like night lights made out of coconuts. Examples include palm trees with light emanating from three coconuts on the tree, a sea turtle with a lighted coconut shell, and a giraffe with a lighted-coconut torso.

Another exhibitor makes birdhouses out of recycled materials.

“I saw one made out of an old-fashioned telephone,” she said.

A kids zone sponsored by Security Federal Bank is also new this year. It will feature a Looney Tunes mural for children to color.

Local performers will take the stage on Saturday. They include BluJayz, Kidz Creek, The Savannah River String Band, CSRA New Horizons and Dream Dance Academy. More than 100 volunteers will help with the event, Phillips said.

“We’re just really excited,” she said.


WHEN: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8

WHERE: Park Avenue, Downtown Aiken

COST: Free