CUMBERLAND VALLEY, PA (September 2, 2015) - Cumberland Valley Pennsylvania was just acknowledged as #6 on a national voting poll for the Top 10 Towns for Craft Lovers in America. The poll was designed and promoted through the national organization that promotes American Craft Week.
Cumberland Valley has been a part of American Craft Week for three years but this is the first year that the community and businesses have really embraced the concept. American Craft Week is always the first full week of October and will be celebrated October 2-11 this year. Cumberland Area Economic Development Corporation (CAEDC) is currently the only destination marketing organization in Pennsylvania promoting American Craft Week at this level.
This year, Cumberland Valley visitors and residents can enjoy over 100 events at over 40 locations spread throughout Cumberland Valley during the first week of October. Locations ranging from museums, galleries, shops and restaurants will be opening their doors to artists, craftsmen and the public to experience craft through demos, classes, workshops, special sales and more.
Diane Sulg, American Craft Week co-chair, explains the significance of the week, "During American Craft Week we shine a bright spotlight on handmade craft. This is so important for many reasons. First, a huge number of people are involved in these small businesses producing high quality, well-designed goods. When we buy these goods we are supporting them and the funds have a huge impact on our country's economy and our local well-being. Moreover, travelers love bringing home treasures that they cannot buy at their local mall, hence craft galleries, fairs and exhibitions are a large part of cultural tourism."
PJ Heyman, owner of the Village Artisans Gallery in Boiling Springs, is credited with bringing American Craft Week to Cumberland Valley. She presented the idea to the tourism arm of CAEDC a few years ago and each year Heyman and CAEDC have grown the reach of this marketable event. A recent milestone highlighting the growth of American Craft Week in Cumberland Valley happened in May 2015, when the Cumberland County Commissioners officially proclaimed the first week of October American Craft Week.
"I am thrilled, but not completely surprised that Cumberland Valley PA came in as one of the Top 10 Towns for Craft Lovers," said Heyman. "There is a real interest in our cultural heritage from visitors as well as the local citizenry looking for fine handmade American craft. Cumberland Valley PA is home to many fine craft artists, artisans, craft and art organizations. Their work can be found in craft galleries, studios, art centers and at local fine art & craft shows and festivals throughout the Valley all year. American Craft Week in October spotlights their work with special events, such as artists' demonstrations, workshops for children and adults, and a fine art & craft show."
In 2015, CAEDC placed an emphasis on staying connected to our towns and partners through in-person visits. This dedication really allowed CAEDC to explain American Craft Week and get more partners than ever signed up. With over 40 locations holding events throughout the week this year, CAEDC is able to market American Craft Week to a larger audience. The calendar is still filling up too, with new events being added every day bringing the total well above 100 events. This number of events marks over a 600% increase from the first year Cumberland Valley participated in American Craft Week.
The promotion of American Craft Week in Cumberland Valley started with the creation of a designated site for Cumberland Valley's American Craft Week events, www.visitcumberlandvalley.com/craft. The site outlines all the different events and offers visitors suggestions of other things to see and do to round out their trip this October.
CAEDC also has three billboards in the area announcing American Craft Week as well as ads placed in local and regional publications, and on social media.
"Our hats are off to the Cumberland Valley for the great job they do promoting their cultural resources. Their staff has excelled at recruiting and marketing these important community resources, putting the Cumberland Valley region in the company of the best-known arts destinations. Congratulations Cumberland Valley, you are a leader and a great example to other communities," said Sulg.
CAEDC is Cumberland County's authorized agency charged with leveraging and promoting Cumberland Valley's economic development and tourism assets to drive growth, create jobs and improve the quality of life. Offices are located at 53 W. South Street, Carlisle PA. For more information, visit www.cumberlandbusiness.com and www.visitcumberlandvalley.com.