History of the Guild
Albemarle Craftsman's Guild & Fair

For over fifty-seven years, well over 100 different traditional crafts were created by hundreds of different crafters. Lives of individuals and families have been changed and improved; quality items that are beautiful and/or useful have been produced and sold, and a heritage maintained.

Area craft producers, the Agricultural Extension Service, and the Elizabeth City Chamber of Commerce joined together to bring about the birth of the Albemarle Craftsman’s Fair in 1959. The first Albemarle Craftsman’s Fair was held in the Dr. Pepper Building in Elizabeth City. Extension agents planned and directed the Fairs until 1963. By that time, Extension had trained crafters to begin assuming leadership roles.

In 1963 the North Carolina legislature visited the Fair, arriving by bus. In 1967, Fair members were invited to display their crafts at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC.

Home Demonstration Club members, now known as Extension and Community Association, have been a sponsor of the Fair through the years, providing on site food in early Fairs and continuing to serve as volunteers and hostesses today. Today the Albemarle Craftsman’s Fair is totally operated by volunteers, but continues to have educational support from Extension when needed. 

The adopted by-laws provided that the Albemarle Craftsman’s Guild would organize crafters and persons interested in crafts for the following purposes: To maintain and improve the quality of crafts produced and sold, to encourage original design, to promote the continuation and authentic reproduction of earlier crafts.

Presently, active Guild participants range in ages from 18 to 101years. They represent all education levels and walks of life professionals, students, homemakers, private business owners and the retired. Members continue to be challenged to further their development of skills and creativity. There is no age or geographical limit to membership. Through fifty-two years of changing times, pride, quality and tradition have remained constant. The future of the Albemarle Craftsman’s Fair is rooted in the idea that quality is its own reward, and that beautiful creations from skilled hands are timeless in value.


Early Fair promoters can also be proud that present day craftsmen's goals are still much like those of first Fair craftsmen; the preservation of good hand craftsmanship for the generations of tomorrow!


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