No. 1 Classic & Contemporary Craft Show - Old-Fashioned Christmas in the Woods

August 2023, by Angie Landsverk - Sunshine Artist Magazine


Each October, Old-Fashioned Christmas in the Woods hosts thousands of people from across the country at Shaker Woods in Columbiana, Ohio. It is again the top Classic & Contemporary Craft show in Sunshine Artist’s annual 200 Best

Ken and Linda McGaffic started the show in 1994. It features juried, costumed crafters who decorate their wooden booths in old-fashioned, holiday themes and sell unique, handmade crafts. 

The couple shared details about the show and advice for those wanting to exhibit there in the future. 

Sunshine Artist (SA): Old-Fashioned Christmas in the Woods consistently ranks as one of the top Classic & Contemporary Craft shows in the country. How does it feel to again be voted the top CC show? 

Ken McGaffic (KM): We feel truly blessed and honored to again be voted the top Classic & Contemporary Craft Show. It’s a cooperative effort of everyone involved who helps us be successful year after year. This includes our exceptional lineup of crafters and food vendors and our hard-working staff. 

SA: Share a bit about the show’s history, venue, artwork, attendance, and demographics. 

KM: What helps make the show is the beautiful, wooded setting. The atmosphere conveys quality and uniqueness, with each crafter setting up in their own rustic wooden booth. Participants are required to dress in costume and demonstrate their craft. 

While a Christmas show, crafters are not limited to Christmas items. We have everyone from leatherworkers to potters. Our event gives attendees an opportunity to buy unique gifts for Christmas gift-giving.  

Our target audience is heavily weighted toward women, but men love the event, too. We offer food from a wide selection of vendors.  

SA: What is the process for jurying crafters into the show?

KM: We have new crafters each year. We jury each applicant, limiting the number of crafters in each medium. We start in December after our show, with applications available for new and existing crafters. 

SA: How many exhibitors are expected this year? What amenities are provided for crafters? 

KM: We are hosting approximately 210 crafters and 20 food booths. Participants have a week to set up starting the Saturday before. They can park their vehicle and trailers on the grounds throughout the event in an adjacent parking area. All pathways in the woods are graveled and wide enough for crafters to easily pull up to their booth to unload their wares. 

SA: Artists base their nominations for the 200 Best list on one thing — where they made the most money. Why are crafters so successful at your show? 

KM: This is the 29th year of our event, and we have developed a reputation for having quality crafters. We have a tremendous number of attendees who come year after year from across the country. 

Linda McGaffic (LM): People who come to our show come to buy. 

KM: Having an advertising agency and being in that field for more than 40 years, I maximize every advertising dollar. 

Our festival’s setting is midway between Cleveland and Pittsburgh, with easy access from major highways. We draw thousands from both metropolitan areas, as well as surrounding counties. 

We have crafters, food, entertainment, free parking, a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere, accommodating staff, and a variety of hotels nearby. 

Our marketing campaign includes network television, billboards, flyers, and social media. We spend aggressively to promote the event. We do not rest on the fact we have been doing this for nearly three decades. There are always new customers out there. 

Price: Our admission fee is reasonably priced. The free parking is adjacent to the festival grounds, with a free shuttle for those who need assistance. 

SA: What advice do you have for crafters who are thinking about applying in the future? 

KM: Visit as an attendee to get a feel for what it is like, including whether you can meet the demand for your craft over a four-day period. We encourage crafters to have ample stock for all four days. We guide new crafters from booth selection to setup, display, and costume ideas. 

SA: Is there anything else you want artists to know about the show? 

KM: Give the show a few years to see if it works for you. We are always looking for something different and handmade by a true craftsman or artisan. Bring your talent. We bring the people. It is up to you to sell to them.