AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) — The 46th annual Aiken’s Makin’ arts and crafts show is happening this weekend. The event is taking place along Park Avenue. There is everything out here, from food and face painting to jewelry and art, and you can’t forget about the food!!! “I’m people-watching,” Mark Lapinsky told NewsChannel 6’s Aiken Bureau Chief Shawn Cabbagestalk.

Some say it’s a cross between a family reunion and a tent revival. “I love it. It’s a lot of excitement, great food, and atmosphere is great,” Sheda Ashenfelter shared. “The food, the different crafts, and you run into people that you haven’t seen until last Christmas or last sale,” Debbie Rood added.

Thousands of people are expected at the two-day festival. “What’s your favorite part about the festival?” Shawn asked 5-year-old Charlie Jameson. “The toys,” he said. “Just seeing the people wander through, you know, everybody seems very nice. I’ve shared the bench with some folks. I only have one little corner, and whoever wants to can have the rest,” Lapinsky added. “I’m here. Cause my wife told me to be here and I didn’t get this old by not following instructions,” Jim Crump said with a chuckle.

There are nearly 200 craft vendors.  “Three or four days or something like that?” Adeline Mazyck said while making a sweet basket. “Yes, it takes a while. Lot of hours lot,” she added. “You put love into this basket,” Shawn asked. “That’s right. You have to love this to keep going,” Mazyck shared.

There are about 20 food vendors. “I’m enjoying the bacon. I’ve come for quite a few years and this is a heart attack in the plate,” Rood said laughing. “It’s a chilly, chilly cheese fries. So there’s peppers and cheese and lots of French fries,” she described. “We’ll have something to eat and then stop in Manetta for some peach ice cream and back to Lexington,” Crump shared.

The event is put on by the Aiken Chamber of Commerce. Organizers say it’s the biggest economic driver in the area. “So you don’t just apply to be in this show, you’re judged. And then we accept the best of those that apply. And so that’s what makes Aiken’s Makin’ a little different,” president/CEO, Aiken Chamber of Commerce David Jameson said. 

After a year off in 2020 because of COVID-19, the event returned with an expanded footprint to enjoy all that the festival had to offer. “It was sad that we couldn’t get out cause being stuck up in the house a lot. It was something you could look forward to, but we’re glad it’s back now,” Serena Walker said.

The event wraps up Saturday at 5 p.m. You’re asked to park at the Aiken Visitors Center and Train Museum on Park Ave. S.E.