In the early 1950’s, a wealthy land owner in Crozet decided to donate a large piece of land to the community. The land would become Claudius Crozet Park, which is now a nonprofit, still owned by the community. A few decades down the road, a group of Crozet pioneers was looking for ways to generate income for the park, to keep it viable and financially sound. They came up with what is now a treasured and well-established bi-annual tradition; The Crozet Arts and Crafts Festival. Current festival director Amanda Polson, who took over the reins of the festival about 5 years ago, doesn’t know much about the early years of the event. “What I do know is that the board back then was very involved in the community and that hasn’t changed. The current board, although all relatively new to the festival, is very involved and determined to make the Crozet Arts and Crafts Festival a success.” And so, for the past 36 years, artists and art lovers flock to Claudius Crozet Park twice a year from all over the country. The festival is always planned around Mother’s Day in the spring and Columbus Day weekend in the fall. “The festival is juried,” Polson said. “That means that a jury will look at all the exhibitors who want to come to the festival to sell their art. That’s necessary, because for the upcoming spring edition, we had around 200 applications, but we have room for 125 artists.” According to Polson, the Crozet Arts and Crafts Festival is “as big as it can be.” “For the space we have, we are basically at full capacity,” she said. “And remember, besides art the festival also offers local foods, beer and wine and also live music. It really is a wonderful opportunity for the whole family to go out and enjoy what we have to offer.” For folks who have never visited the festival, Polson explained what to expect. “The festival offers high-quality arts and crafts, made by artists from all over the country. It also offers something for everyone. If you’re in the market to buy relatively expensive furniture, you can find it at the festival. If that’s not in your budget, there are less expensive items and gifts to browse. In the end, the Crozet Arts and Crafts Festival is a celebration of the arts, in a beautiful location.” On average, Polson said that around 5,000 visitors come to the festival in the spring and the fall. One of the strengths of the festival is that the artists and visitors can really connect on a personal level, Polson said. “It’s meaningful that artists have a way to show their work, but also how they work by giving demonstrations. That means that visitors get a better understanding of the art and its maker on the spot. There’s a real personal connection between artists and visitor.” For this year, the festival is partnering with the Monticello Art Trail, expanding the experience of the festival to places outside of the park, with local artists coming to the park and opening their art studios for visitors as well. “Over the years, we’ve had lots of feedback from our exhibitors,” Polson said. “They always love coming to this festival, saying that the people are so friendly and genuinely interested in their art. That’s why they want to come back each year. And to me, that says a lot about our community.” The spring festival is scheduled for May 11 and 12, and the fall festival is scheduled for October 12 and 13.