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Kick off fall with the Go West! Craft Fest

Woodlands Estate becomes a craft lovers paradise this Saturday.
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Arts, crafts and a small circus will take over the Woodlands Estate in West Philadelphia on Saturday.
Co-organizers Emily Conroy Dorn and Wilder Scott-Straight first thought of starting a West Philly craft festival back in 2010. The festival on Saturday marks five years since the festivals really got going- and it has grown over time.

The Go West! Craft Fest began in the form of a monthly event for a handful of West Philly artists and artisans. But now it’s grown to a bi-annual event at the Woodlands Estate complete with food, performances and vendors galore.

“We want to make it neighborhood-friendly and budget-friendly,” said co-organizer Emily Conroy Dorn. “We try to keep it as varied as possible.”

Doran owns VIX Emporium at 50th and Baltimore in West Philadelphia. She and co-organizer Wilder Scott-Straight started the craft festival after realizing that the many makers and artists in West Philly needed a larger outlet to sell their goods and network with potential customers in their neighborhood.

Although they welcome almost all kinds of vendors, they do need to be somewhat selective in order to uphold and achieve the goals of the bi-annual event. But shopping isn’t the only thing to do at the festival. A small circus constructed outside the cemetery at 4000 Woodland Ave. could attract a crowd on its on.

“We have a freestanding aerial rig,” said Tangle Arts founder and producer Lauren Rile Smith. “We use trapezes and aerial silks to tell stories. It’s our little traveling show.”

Smith has been performing a show she has dubbed Tinycircus at the Go West! Craft Fest since the first festival at the Woodlands Estate in 2012. Smith’s performance does include a revamped version of her trapeze act she performed during Fringe.

“It’s fun to go from a formal experience to something that is so spontaneous and casual,” said Smith. “During Fringe, we do two full length circus acts- they’re theatrical productions with storylines. Tinycircus is a way for us to work on the sillier things and what we’re interested in.”

Five local bands join Tangle Arts on the performance line up. There will be a different performance every hour, on the hour. Go West! Craft Fest officially begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday morning.

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