“What sets Tacoma is for Lovers apart for me is the amazing community set up around this craft fair,” said Erika Rier, a visual artist based in Portland and a returning vendor at Tacoma Is for Lovers. “I’ve made many of my closest friends through doing this fair. In many ways, it has changed my life.”
Rier is one of the many vendors coming to sell beautiful and quirky crafts at the 10th annual Tacoma Is for Lovers Holiday Craft Fair at King’s Books in Tacoma’s Stadium District. On Nov. 17 and 18, visitors can peruse unique items from handmade pillows to locally harvested honey.
“What’s unique about Tacoma is for Lovers Craft Fair is it’s like going to a potluck of creativity,” said Christina Spadafore, a jewelry designer and vendor.
Andrea Mitchell, owner of In Stitches, will be attending the event for the fourth year in a row. Mitchell makes wallets, pouches, and bags with quirky designs — she fits right in with the array of funky vendors at the fair.
“(Tacoma is for Lovers) does a great job of choosing a variety of local makers that bring high-quality handmade goods and customers to the event that truly want to support their local creatives,” Mitchell said. “It is a very enthusiastic and fun event to be a part of.”
The first Tacoma is For Lovers Craft Fair at King’s Books was just supposed to be a one-time thing. It was originally started by local resident Jennifer Adams to help a close friend with her medical bills.
“A friend of mine was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and she didn’t have insurance. … The very first one was just a complete fundraiser for her,” Adams said. “That’s where it started. It was just for her.”
After that Tacoma is for Lovers just became a regular local craft fair. Now ten years in the making, King’s Books has been involved since the very beginning.
“We’ve tried a couple different formats, one year we did five in one year. That was just crazy. Now we just do the weekend before Valentine’s Day, the weekend before Mother’s Day, which is just one day, and the weekend before Thanksgiving,” said sweet pea Flaherty, owner of King’s Books.
The name Tacoma is for Lovers is inspired by Jennifer Adams’ mom, who used to sport a sweatshirt all throughout Adams’ childhood that said, “Carmel is for Lovers.” The nostalgia was too good to pass up for Adams. Now the slogan is sold on t-shirts all over Tacoma and has become somewhat of a local favorite.
Look out for the next Tacoma is for Lovers Valentine’s Day Craft Fair on Feb. 9th, and if you’re crafty, remember to submit your vendor application in December to take part in the fair.