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CAFN nets a winner on the shores of Liberty Bay

POULSBO — Without any hesitation, Greg Enright called Arts by the Bay 2003 a masterpiece.

“It went great,” event organizer Enright said Monday. “The crowds were a little sparse but some of the vendors said they did the best business they’d done before.”

Cultural Arts Foundation Northwest hosted the 23rd annual Arts by the Bay last weekend at Waterfront Park. Each year, between 4,000 and 7,000 people are drawn to the juried arts and crafts fair with Liberty Bay for a backdrop.

Enright said about 40 percent of this year’s 35 vendors were new but so far responses to the event had been positive.

Kent resident Bill Meehan made his first trip as a vendor to Arts by the Bay this year. The Raku pottery artist said he’s just breaking into Washington arts and crafts shows after an extensive career in Montana and Poulsbo’s event came highly recommended by several artist friends.

“It’s a very nice setting and good management and set up,” Meehan commented on his first impressions of Arts by the Bay.

Enright said some arts lovers came from as far away as England to attend Arts By the Bay this year. While their trip wasn’t quite as far, Linda Wright and Linda Mead of Moxee (near Yakima) were also among those who made the trek to Little Norway. Mead said they were checking out arts shows with her husband, who hopes to get vendor space at a few events next year for his metal sculptures.

“It’s very nice,” Mead said of the local event. “We’ve been going to a lot of these things and I’m very impressed to see some things here that we haven’t seen anywhere else.”

Arts By the Bay is CAFN’s longest running and largest event the non-profit puts on each year. Money raised supports CAFN programming like an artist lecture series in October, the Arts In the Woods studio tour in November and the organization’s community newsletter. Enright said CAFN benefits only from the $150 per booth charge for vendors to attend, as opposed to some arts and crafts fairs that take a percentage of each vendor’s sales as well.

This year’s event netted CAFN about $5,200 but there were other benefits besides monetary.

“We also got a lot of interest in the studio tours coming up this fall. A lot of people came up and asked about that,” Enright said.

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