The year was 1972. It was yet another time of unrest in our nation. A band of young artists had an idea that had shown great promise in the mountains of Vermont. Outfitted in their tye-dye T-shirts and jeans, they traveled from Mt. Snow and Stowe, Vermont to the fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, NY. They were pursuing a venue with a potentially larger audience for their new creation, an arts and crafts fair. Unfortunately, a very skeptical fair manager informed them that he had no intention of turning his beautiful fairgrounds over "to a bunch of pot smoking hippies!" Because they had traveled a distance to get there, the manager told them that they could come back and make their "pitch" to the Ag. Society for a more favorable response, if they wished. The young artists returned later minus the tye-dyes, minus the aroma of musk and incense, and now outfitted in their Sunday best. The Society members listened to their plea and responded affirmatively. Thus, the American Crafts Council brought their first event to the Dutchess County Fairgrounds. That inaugural show was open to artists from thirteen east coast states. The ACC remained on the fairgrounds through 1983 before moving to the East Coast States Exposition grounds in West Springfield, Massachusetts. In June of 1984, Crafts at Rhinebeck was born and has remained the premier arts and crafts show in the Northeast to this day.
The June Crafts at Rhinebeck is a "high end," contemporary show. The fall show has more of the flavor of a family festival. While many of the same artists participate, with a petting zoo, hay rides, and plenty of pumpkins, the fall show is produced with the family in mind. Both shows are juried and attract some of the finest artists from around the world.