Children giggle. Parents share stories. Teachers hug their students. And friendly vendors sell sparkling jewelry, tasty homemade cakes, and one-of-a kind creations.
This is the Artisan Fair and it’s nestled among the bookshelves of the Brockway Memorial Library in Miami Shores. Neighbors and visitors who have never been here before can’t help but feel the community love.
This time of year, the arts and crafts fairs, bazaars, and pumpkin patches somehow connect us with a simpler time.
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Three generations of daughters of the Quiros family had a booth of handmade dolls at the Oct. 7 Artisan Fair. Lina Quiros, 61, Carolina Quiros, 38, and Kalena Oropeza, 12, were all smiles as they shared the “Dolls By Carmen” craft works by family matriarch Carmen Gonzalez-Quiros, 93, who still makes dolls every day.
“We like to sew, but my grandma is the one,” Carolina said.
At DeeDee Designs, there are bright cloth bags made by DeeDee Wise, who said she’s been sewing since she was 12.
“I sew anything. Hobo bags. They’re reversible and they’re really lightweight,” Wise said.
Leticia Monteagudo is a counter-terrorism specialist by trade, but she learned about woodcraft from her father, a teak yacht carpenter in Cuba.
“I do art to decompress,” she said. Monteagudo uses her late father’s woodworking tools to make her art and she brought one piece for the Artisan Fair Silent Auction. In another booth she sells succulent plant arrangements. A portion of the proceeds will go toward the Humane Society, she said. Her daughters help her share the plants with shoppers.
“I want to show my girls about charity and about giving back and helping,” Monteagudo said.
In another room there is music by local band Wagner, Hand and Pflug, formerly known as Box of Light. When Nancy Wagner starts singing “Desperado” by the Eagles everyone stops to listen. The other band members are Jamie Pflug and Robert Hand.
“Their folksy vibe just sets a great mood and a feeling of camaraderie amongst all who attend,” said library director Michelle Brown. “Children dance and adults reflect as they listen to the lyrics of Bob Dylan and Fleetwood Mac in the library’s main reading room in front of one of three of the library’s original coral fireplaces.”
This year, there were 25 vendors at the Artisan Fair and over 400 people attended. “Last year, we had 200,” she said.
The idea grew, Brown said, from a small fundraiser hosted by the Library’s Needle Arts Club a few years back, which raised money for the upcoming Children’s Wing Expansion.
“The group, along with members of the library staff, put together a great collection of items — knitted, sewn, embroidered and hand-crafted — and it was a big success. So I started thinking, why not open it up to the community at large and invite all local artisans to participate? The only rule was that everything had to be homemade and handmade,” she said.
Nearby, there are delicious samples of Carmela’s Taste cakes with Carmen Palacios and daughter Joanna Borges at the booth. Another vendor, Leslie Wallace, sells lemonade to raise money for the Heidi Hewes Chapter of the Woman’s Cancer Association of the University of Miami.
Maggie Saintil, known as Maggie The Designer, is selling her jewelry designs for the second year. Vendor Linda Powley recently learned jewelry making at a class in Hialeah, she said. It’s her first time at any bazaar.
Many more fairs are coming up and shoppers will gather in churches, temples, schools, community centers and pumpkin patches.
Across the county from Miami Shores, the community of Country Walk will host its eighth annual Fall Arts & Crafts Festival Nov. 4. Everyone can enjoy music, and a kids’ zone, and shop for arts and crafts, home décor, jewelry, and gifts. Farmers’ market and food truck vendors can still apply.
The organizers of the Temple Beth Am Chanukah Holiday Bazaar Nov. 8 promise you’ll find one-of-a-kind items and many local vendors under one roof.
Nancy Crair is co-chair of the Bet Shira Sisterhood Annual Holiday Bazaar set for Nov. 5. She said vendors will sell jewelry, cosmetics, Judaica, art, clothing, toys and ceramics.
“One of my main goals as being the chair of bazaar vendors is to make sure there is a variety of merchandise,” Crair said. “Those who attend our bazaar appreciate the diversity of products and seldom-seen items. I am always on the lookout for new vendors to add to our event who make or sell unique items.”
Pumpkin patches also have started popping up after all the Hurricane Irma cleanup.
The historic patch at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade, Hank Kline Club, opens Wednesday Oct. 18 and will have over 2,500 Michigan pumpkins of all sizes. Prices start at $5 and you can take a photo with a big wooden pumpkin, hay and scarecrows.
Back at the Brockway Memorial Library, Miami Shores resident Liangy Calli takes pictures of her daughters and their friends as they discover a newly found love of handmade dolls.
“We love our neighbors,” Calli said. “We want to support the vendors and our library.”
And director Brown said people came by the fair who haven’t stepped foot in a library in decades. The proceeds from the vendor participation fees go toward library programming, new technology and more events, she said.
“It's been such a joy to showcase local artists and craftspeople. The talent in our own small community is amazing,” Brown said.
“The response was wonderful, and we have made a lot of new friends and library supporters in the process. That’s what it’s really all about — connecting with community.”
Annual fall event guide
Here’s our annual guide to some of the season’s pumpkin patches, community bazaars, fall festivals and craft fairs in Miami-Dade County:
▪ Through Oct. 31: West Kendall Pumpkin Patch, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., every day, 15710 SW 56th St. Free admission. Family fun and free photo opportunities with pumpkins of all sizes that are for sale $3 to $40. Photo props include corn stalks $7 and bales of hay $10. Photo booth, too. Family Day is 1 to 4 p.m. Oct. 21, with food, pumpkin pie-eating contests and music. Follow on IG @westkendallpumpkinpatch and Facebook West Kendall Pumpkin Patch.
▪ Through Oct. 31: Pumpkin Patch at The Little Farm, 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 13401 SW 224th St. Great for families with small children. Free admission, parking fee $5 cash only. Pumpkins $7 to $30, pony rides $3, petting farm $4, scarecrow kits and harvest décor $2 to $25. Cash and credit cards accepted. One free pony ride with each pumpkin purchase. Call 305-258-3186 or visit www.thelittlefarm.us.
▪ Oct. 18-31: Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade, Hank Kline Club Pumpkin Patch, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day, 2805 SW 32nd Ave. Free admission. Visit this historic pumpkin patch with 2,500 Michigan pumpkins of all sizes. Prices start at $5. Also find pumpkin carving kits and pie-making instructions. Photo opportunities include a wooden pumpkin, hay, scarecrows and more. Ample free parking. Proceeds benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade, which helps thousands of local children year-round. More at www.bgcmia.org.
▪ Oct. 21 and 22: Coconut Grove Pumpkin Patch Festival at Regatta Park, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. 3500 Pan American Dr. Entrance fee $20. Free for babies under 24 months old without access to carnival rides. Everyone will enjoy 5,000 pumpkins to choose from plus a full-size carnival for all ages. Included are unlimited rides, a cornstalk maze, a dress-your-own scarecrow village, and shows on the main stage. Pumpkin Food Court and Pumpkin Beer Bars, too. www.coconutgrovepumpkinpatch.com/
▪ Oct. 28: The Ultimate Bazaar, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Coco Plum Woman’s Club, 1535 Sunset Dr. Free admission to shop fabulous clothing, handbags, jewelry and shoes. Also, home goods, plants and art for holiday gifts. All proceeds are donated to the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center for cancer research. Hosted by the Woman’s Cancer Association of the University of Miami.
▪ Nov. 4: Country Walk eighth annual Fall Arts & Crafts Festival, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 14601 Country Walk Dr. Free admission. The entire family can enjoy music, kids’ fun zone, arts and crafts, home décor, handmade jewelry and accessories, holiday gifts, food trucks and sweet treats. Farmers’ market and food truck vendors wanted. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 305-238-9336, ext. 12.
▪ Nov. 4: Holy Rosary-St. Richard’s International Food and Art Festival, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., 7500 SW 152nd St. Free admission. Travel around the world in a day to experience food from America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia and South America. Also arts and crafts, specialty vendors, music, carnival games, fun rides, pony rides and more. Call 305-233-8711 for vendor opportunities.
▪ Nov. 4: St. Thomas Lutheran Church Fall Fair, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., 17700 Old Cutler Rd. Free admission to this fair started over 30 years ago by the Women of the Church. Local vendors will have “previously loved” rummage sale items, homemade baked goods, hot dog café, local crafts, and free face painting for kids and adults. The OneBlood bus will be there. Proceeds benefit Lutheran Disaster Response for Hurricane Irma victims in the Florida Keys and St. Thomas’ Homeless Outreach Programs. Vendors can contact 305-232-1227or Stthomaschr@aol.com.
▪ Nov. 4: Swap Meet at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., 10700 SW 56th St. Free admission. Find new and used items, jewelry, tools, fresh fruits and vegetables. The Women’s Ministry will donate proceeds from their White Elephant sale to the hurricane needs in the community. The Youth Group’s rummage sale will do the same. Look for the famous pork sandwiches, homemade banana bread and other goodies.
▪ Nov. 5: Bet Shira Sisterhood Annual Holiday Bazaar, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., 7500 SW 120th St.. Free admission. Shop for jewelry, cosmetics, Judaica, art, clothing, gifts, toys, ceramics, accessories and more. Vendors can contact email@example.com or call/text Nancy at 786-387-5852.
▪ Nov. 8: Riviera Schools Annual Bulldogs Holiday Bazaar, noon to 7 p.m., at the Prep School campus, 9775 SW 87th Ave. Eventbrite $2 advance ticket, $5 at the door. The first 50 shoppers receive a free goodies bag. Over 45 local vendors will feature clothing, jewelry, candles, soap, home goods, toys, children’s clothing, stationery, gourmet food items, art and accessories for sale. A percentage of ticket sales will be donated to Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.
▪ Nov. 8: Temple Beth Am Chanukah Holiday Bazaar, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., 5950 N. Kendall Dr. Free admission. Shop for holiday gifts, home décor, jewelry, Judaica items, clothing for all ages, fashion accessories, and personalized and one-of-a-kind gifts. Many local vendors all under one roof. Call 305-667-6667.
▪ Nov. 9-12: Blessed Trinity Catholic Church Family Festival, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday. 4020 Curtiss Pkwy., Virginia Gardens. Free admission and parking. Enjoy rides and international foods for purchase, and entertainment.
▪ Nov. 9-12: Mother of Christ Catholic Church Harvest Festival, 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday, 14141 SW 26th St., Free admission and parking. International foods and rides for purchase, and entertainment.
▪ Nov. 11: Annual BBQ & Country Craft Fair, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Cornerstone Church, 20740 Old Cutler Rd. at the corner of Marlin and Old Cutler roads. Free admission. Enjoy barbecue chicken dinner with baked beans, corn-on-the-cob and a drink between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Pay by a donation. Also crafts, gift vendors, free rides for children, and a DJ. Food also includes a hot dog booth, Flips Kettle Corn, and a variety of homemade baked goods. Vendors can call 305-233-7457 to reserve a spot for $25.
▪ Nov. 11: Fall Bazaar At Fulford United Methodist Church, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., 1900 NE 164th St. Free admission. All are welcome to shop home-baked goods, unique gifts, handmade holiday decor, plants, a country store, massages, kids’ corner, “trash and treasures,” and lunch for purchase. Proceeds benefit local and worldwide mission outreach projects. Call 305-945-3505.
▪ Nov. 14: Miami Country Day School 22nd annual Holiday Bazaar, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., in the Gym at 601 NE 107th St. Free entrance. Join the Parents’ Association for all your one-stop holiday shopping. Browse jewelry, women’s clothing, home accessories, kitchenware, stationery, sports memorabilia, kids’ clothing, personalized items and more. Enjoy the food court throughout the day. Proceeds benefit Miami Country Day School’s students and teachers. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 305-779-6773.
▪ Nov. 16-19: Corpus Christi Family Festival, 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday, 3220 NW Seventh Ave. Free admission and parking. Family fun with food, games and amusement rides for purchase.
▪ Nov. 16-19: Immaculate Conception Catholic Church Annual Fall Festival, 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday, 4497 West First Ave., Hialeah. Free admission. Rides daily wristbands start at $20, four-day pass $50. Games, rides, food and entertainment. Cash raffle prizes.
▪ Nov. 17 and 18: Arts & Craft Show at Palm Springs United Methodist Church, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, 5700 West 12th Ave., Hialeah. Shop collectibles, crafts and supplies, Christmas decorations for home and lawn, gift items, silver, dishes, paintings, crystalware, fall items, and linens. A local florist has donated many new items that will be for sale including autumn, Halloween and Christmas decorations, ribbons, containers and many things for floral arrangements. An all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner, including salad bar, garlic bread, drinks, and dessert bar, will be 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Saturday. Adults $10, children $5.
▪ Nov. 22-26: Miami Baptist Church Fall Family Carnival, 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday, 14955 SW 88th St. Free admission and free parking. Enjoy international foods, games and amusement rides for purchase.
▪ Nov. 30-Dec. 3: St. Joachim Holiday Festival, 6 to 11 p.m. Thursday and Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 19150 SW 117th Ave. Free admission and free parking. Enjoy arts and crafts, international foods, and rides for purchase.
▪ Dec. 1-3: Church of the Little Flower Family Festival, 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, 1 to 10 p.m. Saturday, 1 to 8 p.m. Sunday, 2701 Indian Mound Trail, Coral Gables. Free admission and parking. There will be rides, games and international foods for purchase.
▪ Dec. 2 and 3: Annual Christmas Bazaar, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Hall, 11291 SW 142nd Ave. Shop for gifts, arts and crafts, candles and jewelry. Baked goods and desserts will be for sale at the food court. Raffle prizes include a $300 Visa Card. Sponsored by Our Lady of Lourdes Council of Catholic Women.
▪ Dec. 3: Annual Holiday Bazaar at Temple Beth Or, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 11715 SW 117th Ave. Vendors include fashion jewelry and accessories from Ellen’s Treasures and Hudson Girl Jewelry, Gina’s Creations, ceramics, clothing, art, plants in art, Judaica from The Chosen Gift & Bookstore, handmade soaps and lotions, Critterz stuffed animals and pillows, prints by renowned photographer Alice Goldhagen, Nita’s Treats and more. Vendors can call 305-253-4155 for information. Table fee is $75 with table or rack plus breakfast and lunch provided.
▪ Dec. 7-10: St. Dominic Holiday Festival, 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, 6 to 11 p.m. Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 5909 NW Seventh St. Free admission and parking. International foods and rides will be available for purchase, and there will be entertainment.