Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival to return in-person with new ownership and events for fans of knitting, sewing, and more | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival to return in-person with new ownership and events for fans of knitting, sewing, and more

If reports are correct, the number of hobbyists has grown during the pandemic. A survey released by LendingTree in April 2021 determined that about 6 in 10 Americans took on a new hobby over the past year to stave off lockdown boredom. Among the top activities explored was knitting or sewing, with people of all ages, particularly millennials and Gen Z members, finding ways to be creative with yarn and thread.

Laura Regan, the new owner of the Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival, acknowledged this in a statement on the event's website.

"Handcrafts have enjoyed a vibrant comeback, thanks in large part to the Internet, where all artists can connect with each other in so many ways," she wrote. "During the pandemic, the positive trends in handmade crafts continued. With the ability to [Zoom] with others — many were able to connect without having a geographic barrier. While we honor the old traditions passed down from our parents and grandparents, the craft/fiber world is expanding in so many wonderful new ways."

This summer, the Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival welcomes both new stitching enthusiasts and seasoned needleworkers to enjoy three days dedicated to knitting, crochet, quilting, sewing, weaving, and more. Taking place from Aug. 12-14 at the DoubleTree by Hilton in GreenTree, the annual event, which started in 2005, will offer over 50 classes with nationally known instructors, vendors from around the country, and special displays.

Originally founded by Barbara Grossman as a fundraiser for the Waldorf School of Pittsburgh, the event is now owned and run by Regan, who served as a vendor and teacher at past festivals. According to the event website, Regan decided to take it over last year when she learned the festival was canceled in 2020, with news that it could remain so permanently.

"The main reason I stepped in to take ownership was to see the festival continue," says Regan. "The festival does a lot for the creative/fiber arts community, and I did not want to see that go away."

After stepping into the role in fall 2020, she began navigating the COVID-19 situation in the hopes of having an in-person show in August 2021.

"There are usually a couple of thousand that attend," says Regan, adding that the festival attracts anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 visitors each year.

While festival attendees will be required to abide by COVID-19  safety requirements, Regan promises that it will be a "fun, safe, and enjoyable experience." Already, guests can order tickets in advance on the website, and register for online classes.

"We are trying to bring as much variety as possible making sure we continue to respect individual decisions as it pertains to their comfort due to the pandemic," says Regan.
Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival. Thu., Aug. 12-Sat., Aug 14. 500 Mansfield Ave., Green Tree. $10-20 advance tickets, $15 at the door (cash only). pghknitandcrochet.com