Feeling crafty: Thousands turn out for 'Super Bowl of the craft world'

STONE MOUNTAIN - Cool weather made Saturday's third day of the 41st annual Yellow Daisy Festival pleasant for the thousands who showed up to shop, peruse the aisles or just soak up the festival atmosphere.

With a record 541 artists and crafters present representing 32 states, one could find a variety of items for purchase, too. From used tires that were made into swings and hammocks to delicate wildlife driftwood sculptures, Gwinnett County was well-represented among those showcasing their works and artistic abilities.

Lawrenceville resident and former Stone Mountain Park blacksmith Paul Armbruster has been showcasing his pottery and woodwork for nine years at the Yellow Daisy Festival. Working with clay since 1966, Armbruster said he loves it for the people it brings out. He also said sales had been pretty good and that he'd certainly be returning next year.

"We've always done really well here. It's a really good show. The arts and crafts are of really good quality," Armbruster said.

Suwanee resident Linda Tong and her exquisite wood lacquerware are no stranger to the Yellow Daisy Festival. She'd been participating in the festival for 23 years and has been practicing her unique skill that encompasses many fine details for 36 years. She learned her trade from her mother who in turn learned it from her mother in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Some of her pieces, like one giant betta fish, she said, could take up to four months to complete.

"I take my time and I enjoy what I'm doing," Tong said.

Having traveled during the summer to a number of states showcasing her work, Tong said the Yellow Daisy Festival was the only festival she attended in Georgia.

"I love the people and the good, repeat customers," she said. "A lot of people come back."

She said the repeat business allows her to individually tailor pieces to her customer's desires, too.

Repeat customers was also something mother and daughter team Amanda Berry and Annette Lucas of Dacula and Lawrenceville said was a reason they continued to participate.

The two sold garden pails and growth sticks adorned with artistic designs specific for children. Lucas called it the best arts and crafts festival in metro Atlanta.

"They try not to have a lot of one thing and for the people who bring stuff it's a chance to make some really good money and get paid for all the hard work," Lucas said. "My children have grown up with the Yellow Daisy Festival while I've just grown old with it," she joked.

The festival concludes today and is open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

According to event organizer Jeanine Jones, 85 percent of those who attend the Yellow Daisy Festival are women and attendance was at about the same pace as last year.

"It's the Super Bowl of the crafts world and only the best of the best are invited," Jones said. "It's one of the largest outdoor craft shows in the world."

And in keeping with that Super Bowl theme, organizers even set up a "men's den" complete with recliner chairs and two large screen televisions.

Like Jones said, the event might be marketed to women, but the men who attend don't have to miss the big game.