RYE, N.Y. – While some families rushed into Rye Playland to enjoy the rides on a hot spring day, others stopped to look at the various craft tables set up at the entrance, including artwork and baked goods, before heading off. Nearly 12 tables filled the front of the popular Westchester County park for its craft fair, which began Saturday and continues through September.
Jo-Ann Thompson-Claybourne was enjoying her first day at the fair having already sold some of her products.
“Sales are great so far,” said Thompson-Claybourne. “I love communicating with people and getting their reaction to my work – confirmation of what I’m doing is also great for me.”
She owns Creative Artwork by Jo-Ann and creates the art, vases, dresses and parasols herself. Thompson-Claybourne said she has “to be one-on-one with my customers, so I know what it is they’re looking for. I want to give them what they want. I always want them to come back.”
The artist had several people coming over to her table, like Bob and Deanna Baker, to look at her paintings, dresses and other items for sales. The Bakers said they liked her work because it is different and unique.
The Bay Shore husband and wife were there with a group of people taking pictures of the park for Long Island Photography. Deanna said she was most impressed by how Thompson-Claybourne represented African-Americans and their spirits in her paintings.
“I’m taking pictures to show my girlfriend, who’s African-American, and I have cards to give her,” said Baker. Thompson-Claybourne said that she would definitely be back at the fair throughout the summer.
During the early going of the event, the Meredith’s Breads booth was not seeing much customer support.
“I think it’s a little slow because people don’t know about it yet,” said Nicholas Fassilis, who was running the table. “It’s not Memorial Weekend yet. The summer hasn’t really arrived. I think with word getting out, the crowds will start coming.”
However, shortly after he said that business picked up for him. The Kingston-based company was selling pies, cake, muffins, jams, cookies and their namesake bread.
Fassilis attends four to five markets a week during the summer and said that pie sales decline during the summer while sales for jam goes up. He said that returning to the fair would be up to his boss who is “trying to test the grounds out right now, see how we do and go from there.”
The other Playland Craft Fairs take place May 26 to 27 and June 9, 16, 23, 24 and 30. The dates for July and August are not known yet and will be released by Playland.