Firefly Handmade is a totally unique series of events in Boulder Colorado. Their markets are 4 times a year and take place both indoors in the winter months and outdoors in the summer months. One of my favorite components of the festival is that it’s ENTIRELY handmade. No vintage. No fair trade!
So cool. I got to talk to the organizer of Firefly Handmade Beth Pomerantz about her inspiration for such a cool series of events.
BB: What is your name and what is your title with Firefly Handmade Market?
BP: Beth Pomerantz, Owner|Operator|”Curator in Chief” of Firefly Handmade Markets
BB: How long has the show been going on and what types of things can you find there?
BP: Firefly Handmade has been in business for seven years. I acquired the show about five years ago which feels like a heartbeat! In that short time, we’ve made great strides at expanding our product offering, becoming more stringent on vendor handmade guidelines and improving our application process to become much more robust.
I think the biggest accomplishment to date is our fairly recent partnership with the Downtown Boulder Fall Fest, a mainstay event in Boulder County. This festival is in its 30th year and we are honored to be at the center of it all!
We carefully curate our craftspeople to include a wide variety of products. This year you can find handmade fine jewelry, pottery, leather goods, woodworking, clothing, paper products and so much more!
BB: What’s your favorite Firefly moment? Was a specific vendor? A specific event?
BP: Each show has a plethora of magical moments! I walk the markets all weekend long and love watching the vendors interact with their customers. It’s powerful witnessing the public interacting with the products and makers in the same awe-struck way I did when I was first introduced to many of these talented artisans and their creations.
What stands out most to me this year is how our applicant pool has significantly grown. Artisans are still significantly from Colorado, however we now have a growing percentage of vendors from across the country, including Texas, New Mexico, Maine, Ohio, Minnesota, California and more!
It speaks to the strength of the handmade community and how good news travels fast. For Fall Fest 2017, BoWood Company, a new vendor, is traveling 12 hours by car to come to the show. I don’t know what I love more: their dedication or the great reputation of Firefly Handmade Markets for supporting indie brands.
BB: I would love to hear more about the locations of Firefly. And you also work in conjunction with a family fall event is that correct?
BP: We’ve held our Spring and Summer Markets at the 29th Street shopping district for the past 4 years, which has been incredibly rewarding. Boulderites love visiting this shopping location and it’s an easy find for our visitors.
We’re really excited to be at Downtown Boulder Fall Fest! This is our second year with the organization and if history repeats itself we know it will be another smashing success. Fall Fest is about dancing, drinking and revelry. Offering all the best in handmade goods was a natural progression and we’re so honored that Firefly Handmade was chosen to be their partner.
BB: One thing that makes Firefly unique is that it’s handmade only. No vintage or fair trade? How did that come about?
BP: It was a natural choice to only include strictly handmade and American made crafts in our markets as we wanted to celebrate this medium and provide a “pure” forum that sets it apart from other craft shows. If we allow other products into the market it dilutes the artistry, dedication and passion of this talented pool of craftspeople. We wanted to give them a forum where their work was appreciated.
BB: What’s next for Firefly? What are your next dates?
BP: We also just opened our Call for Artisans for our Holiday Market, November 18 & 19 at the brand new Embassy Suites Hotel Ballroom in Boulder. Application is open through September 24 on our website!
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