Saturday and Sunday brought large crowds to the streets of Occoquan for the 50th Annual Arts and Crafts Show, as more than a quarter-mile of artisan booths and original crafts lined both sides of Mill Street. The weather seemed to slightly deter attendance Saturday, but Occoquan Mayor Earnie Porta said it was another very successful show, thanks to the many dedicated volunteers.
"Julie Little, the town staff, and our volunteers did a great job as usual,” said Porta. “Things were a little slow early Saturday as rain threatened, but picked up throughout the weekend so that we ended up having a very successful show. Some of the vendors brought really creative 'I heart Occoquan' items in recognition of this being the show's 50th anniversary."
While many vendors travel from Pennsylvania, Florida and other states to attend the show, Viki Somma, a life-long Occoquan resident said this was her first time as a vendor in the fall show.
“We used to call it Occoquan Days, back in the day, and one of my favorite memories when a guy used to carve wood and make these little gnomes out of bald cypress roots,” she said.
Somma remembers her grandmother taking her to Mamie Davis Park as a little girl, and one of the popular items she sold was a 3D-printed ornament of the Mamie Davis gazebo, along with ornaments of historic Rockledge Mansion.
Mayor Porta said plans are already underway for a reboot of the town’s spring event.
"Our traditional spring Arts & Crafts show will be different than in the past,” he said. “Now called RiverFest, it will still be held over two days on the first weekend in June. In addition to juried artisans and crafters, however, it will feature river-related activities, including boat tours and shuttles, as well as a kayak and SUP slalom race. There will also be food trucks, a beer garden, and musical entertainment in River Mill Park. We expect it to be a great deal of fun for everyone.”