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What sort of vendors show at this event?
All of our vendors create their own original items, whether they are made by hand, by machine or with the help of others. We accept NO vendors of MLM, direct sales, imports or vintage items (except when repurposed into original works). Our vendors' items are unique, popular, useful, family-friendly, and affordable to a general audience. While we occasionally accept vendors from out of town, the vast majority of our vendors are based in the Philly region, particularly West Philadelphia.
How can I apply as a vendor?
Enter your information in the form on the CONTACT page of this site, and we'll email you announcements when vendor applications are open. This happens in February for the Spring event, July for the Fall event, and October for the December event. When open, usually for about 3 weeks each time, online applications are posted on the HOME and VENDORS sections of this site. We also post announcements on our Facebook and Instagram pages.
How did this event get started?
The Fest began in 2009 as a collaboration between crafter couple Wilder and Mike Scott-Straight (of As The Crow Flies & Co.) and shopkeeper Emily Dorn (of VIX Emporium). They wanted to organize a recurring craft event as a much-needed venue for the many creative makers of their West Philadelphia neighborhood. As parents of young children, they also wanted the event to be family-friendly and entertaining for little ones. After a few years of small monthly markets on the street at 50th & Baltimore, the event shifted to a larger spring & fall outdoor event, first in Cedar Park, then its current Woodlands location in 2012, when Tangle Movement Arts became a recurring highlight. The Rotunda has been its home for the Holiday season since 2010. The Lawn at 37th and Filbert is a new venue for 2021, in place of the Rotunda, which is closed for large events due to Covid restrictions.
Why did the event's name change?
When we came up with the old name "Go West! Craft Fest" in 2011, we thought it had a ring to it: "Go West" was a catchy, familiar phrase that happened to sum up our mission perfectly: to encourage shoppers to GO to WEST Philly and support its local makers. We saw it on billboards advertising nearby West Catholic High, and remembered it as a quirky 1980s British pop band. Short and sweet, it rhymes with "Craft Fest" - bingo! It was decided then and there, with no further consideration.
Unfortunately, the phrase's problematic aspects didn't occur to us at the time. In the mid-1800s, it was part of a popular slogan originally used to draw "settlers" or "pioneers" to the American West. While we did not intend our event's name to evoke the resulting tragic displacement of the indigenous population, the fact is that for many, it did. We regret this lack of sensitivity, apologize to those we hurt as a result, and thank those who brought it to our attention.
After considering many other options suggested by community members, we decided the simplest choice would be to drop the word "Go", removing the colonialist reference while keeping the name's familiarity. We think people will GO to the event whether it is part of the name or not, and we hope you do too.
We recognize and acknowledge that the city of Philadelphia stands on the Indigenous territory known as “Lenapehoking,” the traditional homelands of the Lenape, also called Lenni-Lenape or Delaware Indians. These are the people who, during the 1680s, negotiated with William Penn to facilitate the founding of the colony of Pennsylvania. Their descendants today include the Delaware Tribe and Delaware Nation of Oklahoma; the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape, Ramapough Lenape, and Powhatan Renape of New Jersey; and the Munsee Delaware of Ontario. We take this opportunity to honor the original caretakers of this land and recognize the histories of land theft, violence, erasure, and oppression that has brought us here.
We also recognize and acknowledge that our December 2021 event space is part of the area known as the Black Bottom, once a neighborhood that was home to many Black and immigrant families. In the 1950s and 60s, the area was declared "blighted" and dozens of homes and businesses were destroyed by eminent domain, in order to build a high school and facilities for students and faculty of Penn and Drexel universities. We join in mourning this loss for the families who once lived here.
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