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Hover Craft grows larger every year.

Hover Craft turns 5

Hover Craft – an annual buy-local event featuring the work of more than 70 artists, crafters and makers – celebrates its fifth year on Sunday, Dec. 7.

The event takes place inside Turner Hall Ballroom, 1034 N. 4th St., from noon to 6 p.m. Admission is $3 and kids are free.

The first 50 people through the door will receive a Hover Craft gift bag filled with handmade goods from vendors. The first 100 people will get a Hover Craft Community Coupon offering special deals from locally owned businesses that will encourage people to shop locally during the holiday season.

When Hover Craft started four years ago, Art vs. Craft was the major indie craft fair in Milwaukee and it accepted people from all over the country.

"We thought it would be fun to have a craft fair that focused on the talent we have in Milwaukee, which would further our mission of building community," says co-organizer Cortney Heimerl. "The goal of Hover Craft is to expose Milwaukee to local talent and to support local makers. It is an amazing feeling to watch an idealistic vision catch on and become a popular place."

Over the years, the event has grown in size and changed locations to accommodate the ever-expanding crowds. The first year, Hover Craft took place at the Bay View Brew Haus, now the Down and Over Pub, 2535 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. The second year and third year it was held at Sweet Water Organics, 2151 S. Robinson Ave., and last year, it moved to Turner Hall.

"Even though last year we were competing with a Packers game as well as the first blizzard of the year hit just as the doors were opening, we more than doubled our attendance from the previous year," says Heimerl.

Hover Craft is organized by Heimerl, Vanessa Andrew, Alyssa Schulte and Ashley Smith. Originally, Andrew, Heimerl and Schulte worked together vending at the East Side Green Market through a wearable art collective called Fasten.

"Hover Craft was a way to get the team back together and try to form a bigger community out of people who liked to make stuff," says Heimerl.

Heimerl handles vendor communication, marketing and public relations for the event. She also books the DJs, coordinates sound set up and puts together the gift bags. Andrew heads the vector- and type-based design and the make-and-take table, whereas Schulte does all of the non-vector based art, coordinates with the venue and serves as the treasurer. Smith is the force behind sponsorship and coordinates extra staffing for the event.

"We all curate the event and we all have a say in all aspects of it, so basically the group is the boss and we all have our roles that report to the group," says Heimerl.

Hover Craft provides space to artists who do not have brick and mortar spaces of their own. The organizers strive to attract both seasoned veterans and emerging makers and keep table fees low in order to do so.

"It is also important to us to have a fresh line up of makers every year, so we are always mining the depths of the creative community to find new and different makers to pull into the event," says Heimerl. "Because of this, often much of the work you see at Hover Craft is work you cannot find anywhere else, including online."

Hover Craft also has food items and beverages for sale, local DJs spinning vinyl and a free make-and-take table for kids and adults.

A few of the new vendors this year include Artery Ink, Deer Abby, Rain and the River and more.

"This list could go on and on. We are very lucky with the overwhelming number of applications we get from makers who create amazing work," says Heimerl. "A lot of people who come to Hover Craft are astounded by the amount of creativity we have in our own community."


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