Who's the 'fairest' of them all?

Shear delight, steampunk, crafts cornucopia

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Arts and crafts fairs are one of those places where there's always something for everyone. The  craftsmanship of handmade indie wares is unparalleled and the artistic creations are inspired. Waves of fresh cooking waft through the air doing a sort of waltz with the live music. There is always something truly unique being offered or demonstrated.

Taos Fall Arts & Crafts FairSept. 22-24.

The great-grandmother of all Taos open-air arts and crafts fairs is entering it's 47th run at Kit Carson Park this fall. Sponsored by the Taos Chamber of Commerce, it's storied history began in the early 1970s when artists banded together to present a central location for visitors and locals to see and purchase the work of local artists and craftspeople. It has since grown with an expected approximately 60 artisans hailing from New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado.

This isn't a kindergarten crafts exhibit of glitter and Popsicle sticks. On hand will be serious works created by fine woodworkers, very skilled painters, sculptors, jewelry makers, copper and tin metalsmiths. Try some handmade fine lotions or maybe try on some leather clothing. There is much more all interspersed with food and live music. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. No admission fee. For more information, go online to taoschamber.com or call (575) 751-8800.

Aspencade Arts & Crafts FairSept. 22-24, Friday and Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m./Sunday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Browse through booths of hand-crafted items, jewelry, home furnishings, food, art, pottery, and specialty goods while you enjoy delicious food, live entertainment, and the crisp air and changing colors of fall at Brandenburg Park in Red River.

The event also commemorates Red River's 1895 founding in a unique way with a "steampunk" theme — a mix of science fiction, the industrial revolution, romance, history and fantasy — featuring the  Steampunk Fashion Show and a Tea Duel. Steampunk is a genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology.

This year's event coincides with the Red River Folk Festival. $5 weekend entry fee.For more information, go to redriver.org, redriverchamber.org or call (575) 754-2366.

Taos Wool FestivalOct. 7-8.

Have we any wool? Why, yes, sir. The Northern New Mexico region holds a long-standing history and tradition with raising and utilizing wool and other animal fibers. The popular part festival, part arts and crafts fair known as the Taos Wool Festival returns for its 34th year this fall from Oct 7-8 at Kit Carson Park.

Today's culture grows ever faster and dependent upon technology, making it easy to forget the artisan detail and time put into the ancient craft of wool weaving. In Northern New Mexico, for more than 400 years, people have taken the fibers from sheep, alpaca, llama and angora rabbit, and turned them into useful, beautiful creations, from sweaters to rugs to tapestries.

Fans of the Wool Festival come for supplies, tools, conversation and finished goods. Children come for the funny sheep faces and curious alpaca looks, the spinning wheels, the shearing demonstrations and the hands-on activities. Other demonstrations include spinning, dyeing and many other fiber-related skills. The fiber Critters Corner includes live sheep, alpacas, goats, angora rabbits and more.

The festival is an outstanding regional wool market featuring juried vendors displaying their wool fiber, yarns and artistic creations. There are contests for hand-spun yarn, fleeces (wool and alpaca), and finished garments and home accessories.

Other fun events include the Dog Sweater Show & Contest, silent auction featuring many unique donated items and workshops before and during the festival weekend. There is no shortage of treats, either, as food vendors serve up regional lamb and other delicious choices. With the added ambience of live music provided by regional musicians in a range of genres, the festival is unique and fun for the whole family.

On Saturday, Oct. 7, the festival runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 8. No admission fee. taoswoolfestival.org. 

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