Hundreds of artisans fill Dulles Expo Center for springtime Sugarloaf Crafts Festival

 Decorative items for sale are pictured at the Sugarloaf Crafts Festival at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Va., Friday, March 23, 2018. (Lindsey Leake/American University)

Decorative items for sale are pictured at the Sugarloaf Crafts Festival at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Va., Friday, March 23, 2018. (Lindsey Leake/American University)

CHANTILLY, Va. — More than 250 artisans are setting up camp at the Dulles Expo Center this weekend for the spring Sugarloaf Crafts Festival.

The fair gives independent artists as far away as Canada, California and Michigan a chance to show off their work. 

Creators of handmade goods, specialty foods, vibrant artwork and distinctive clothing are ready to meet with shoppers.

Toymaker Lucy Moore — of Lucy’s Toys in Anniston, Alabama — has been participating in Sugarloaf Craft Festivals for more than 30 years. 

“I’ve made toys for 52 years and that’s all I do,” she said. “I love it.” 

Moore added, “I always collected ‘em when I was little and you couldn’t buy good toys at a reasonable price. And I started makin’ ‘em for my children. 

“And I was teachin’ school at the time, and a fur plant moved to our hometown and I just got interested in playin’ with ‘em.”

She’s had quite a few high-profile customers along the way.

“My first camel was for Woody Allen. Yeah. And I’ve made toys for Arnold Schwarzenegger. I’ve made some really interesting — Beau Bridges bought from me at a craft show in Georgia,” Moore noted. 

“So, you know, I’ve sold to a lot of celebrities and I’ve had a lot of fun just designing for somebody that wants somethin’ special. We’ll do anything you ask us to.”

Martin “Rafiki” Owino uses cloth, wax and vegetable dyes to create colorful prints called batiks, reminiscent of his native Kenya. 

His family has been making them for generations, and love is a theme that threads Owino’s vivid works together.

“My philosophies (sic) is love,” said Owino, of K’Owino Batiks. “That’s my salvation.”

The first Sugarloaf Crafts Festival was held 42 years ago, in the spring of 1976 in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Now, Sugarloaf Mountain Works hosts the event 11 times a year throughout the Mid-Atlantic.

This weekend’s festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10 at the door for adults and free for children 12 and under. 

If you can’t make it this weekend, the craft fair will be held in Gaithersburg and Timonium, Maryland, next month, and will return to the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Virginia, in October.