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Plowshare Craftsfair Turns 48, Will Feature Family & Community Along With Arts & Crafts

One of Syracuse’s more unique options for holiday shopping is coming up this weekend.  The Plowshares Craftsfair and Peace Festival turns 48 this year.  The arts, crafts and other gifts might give way to community at the annual fundraising event.                

The Plowshares Craftsfair attracts artists and craftspeople whose work is anything but commonplace … just as with Dan Reeder who’ll be showing three kinds of artworks.

“Drift words, which are words made out of driftwood, pinecones, more natural materials. Barflies out of corks and bottlecaps. And then discardware, which is upcycled computer parts, making things out of upcycled, found objects.”

For nearly half a century, central New Yorkers gather to buy and sell their crafts and creations.
Fair organizer Lanny Freshman describes what kinds of craft festival-goers can expect to find and the artists behind them.

Reeder has quite the connection. He’s been coming to or showing in about half of Plowshare Craftsfairs over the last half-century. Even beyond that, he has familial ties to the site of the fair.  

“My older boys all went to high school at Nottingham and my parents went to high school there back in the early fifties. It’s just my community so I know so many people there because I’ve shopped there for decades, and to be on the other side of the aisle is quite an honor.”

He calls this the highlight of the five or six festivals he does each year.

“Here it’s about social activism, it’s about food, it’s about music, about community and inclusiveness.”

Organizers encourage the event vibe … Lanny Freshman describes it as more than just an arts and crafts show. 

“This is a major benefit for the Syracuse Peace Council each year. The Peace Council obviously is a group that has a tendency toward the left. But none of that is at the fair. There is good food from The Mission restaurant and there is continuous entertainment. And if people have any kind of political differences, it certainly doesn’t show itself.”

In addition to arts and crafts, the fair also features food and entertainment.

Things to buy range from a couple dollars to hundreds, with a lot of modestly priced gift choices.  Non-profits of many causes also have info tables.  And this year, they’re trying to tackle one more issue.

“We try and do better about recycling and having basically everything that is served and so on to be mulch-able or recyclable.”

He notes for many who come,  patrons, artists and vendors alike, the philosophy and community are key, stemming right from the name.

“It comes from ‘And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, nor shall they learn of war anymore.’ I’m paraphrasing, slightly. To offer local or at least central New Yorkers doing stuff that they make – None of which, zero, requires batteries. Everything there works on its own, everything is made by hand. It is also, intentionally, a gathering for people of like mind – and again, not to exclude people – to come and be together and to enjoy being together during a cold and gray time of year.”

The Plowshares Craftsfair and Peace Festival runs December first and second at Nottingham High School. More details on the Plowshares Festival are on our website or