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CEDAR FALLS — Barb Schilf, owner of Mohair Pear on College Hill in Cedar Falls, has again gathered an eclectic mix of artists to share their wares at the Pear Fair tomorrow.

This will be the eighth annual Pear Fair, an open-air, indie craft fair held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the municipal parking lot at College and 22nd streets. More than 30 local and regional vendors will be featured under two tents.

“It’s really important to introduce customers to these kinds of works and allow them the chance to actually meet the vendors,” Schilf said. “With the Pear Fair, we are able to offer items from the vendors we carry at Mohair Pear, but it’s also an opportunity to see the work of vendors we don’t have in the store.”

Becca Kacanda will be a vendor at the Pear Fair this year for the third time.

“I have a small brand, Ultra Terrestrial, and my merchandise concentrates primarily stickers, buttons, hats, T-shirts and greeting cards.”

Kacanda, 32, moved from New York City to Iowa in 2012, for more space and more affordable living.

Her merchandise also is carried at Mohair Pear.

The Pear Fair gives “vendors the chance to present all the items they make at once and to meet people face-to-face and to show new work. I think that helps everybody out. You make fans that way and your sales tend to get better when you get out there and meet people.

“As far as small craft fairs go, it’s an excellent one,” she said. “Impressed by the turnout.”

My stuff is a lot of very bright colors,” she said. “Everything has some kind of a message or a joke or something in it. It is designed to make you laugh, or think, or feel empowered. It has an emotional punch. It can be overtly weird and quirky, but I really try not to tone it down or censor myself. That doesn’t work for me.

“Sometimes I make something that I think might offend people, but I’m always surprised that the wide audience I appeal to, whether it’s teenage girls, men in their 30s or grandmas in their 60s — but they get it. My flair is really uplifting and edgy.”

Making his Pear Fair debut this year is John Potter, 39, of Sunset Skate, a Cedar Falls company that handcrafts old-school style skateboards, longboards, wall art and other woodworking crafts from mostly recycled lumber.

Potter also makes six-pack holders and furniture and even built a canoe.

“This is my first try at in-person selling,” Potter said. “Woodworking has always been a hobby for me, not a business.

“I’ve been a skateboarder since kindergarten,” he said. “I’ve made skateboards for myself, for family members. I thought I’d start to sell them and pay for my hobby. I see some people riding around campus on their boards, so I thought this would be a good place to introduce mine.”

Elaine McMurchy, of Elaments and Oracles, also is making her third appearance at the Pear Fair. She works mainly with semi-precious stones and other natural material like bone and wood to create jewelry.

“I’ve been making things since high school,” said McMurchy, 33, from Waverly. “In college I started making jewelry for people.”

McMurchy said she gets inspiration for her pieces from the gems themselves.

“The colors, the textures, the way they play off each other,” she said. “I’d say my work is a little bit eclectic, but simple and colorful.”

McMurchy, who also has an Etsy store and makes customized jewelry, said she will have a good assortment of examples of her work at the fair. She also sells merchandise at Mohair Pear.

McMurchy said she enjoys being part of the Pear Fair.

“It’s a hoot,” she said. “It’s such a gathering of genuinely awesome people, not only of the artists but the people who come, the people who are drawn to it. They are really curious and really supportive.

“Barb and the whole team at Mohair Pear work so hard to pull this together each year. They’ve created something magical.”

For more information, go to thepearfair.com.

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Copy Editor/Staff Writer

General assignment reporter and columnist at The Courier

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