Ritz Crafters, an indie craft show, will make its debut in Rochester on Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the 4-H Building on the Olmsted County Fairgrounds.

The event brings together 40 vendors from Minnesota and Wisconsin specializing in a variety of crafts, from woodworking and footwear to jewelry and printmaking.

Why is it called Ritz Crafters? We have the answer to that and more in our interview with the event organizer, Danni Trester.

How did Ritz Crafters get its start?

Ritz Crafters began in Madison, Wis., to both give makers a selling opportunity during a usually slow time of year, and to offer folks in the community a fun event when not much else is going on in the dead of winter. The name is a play on words. It’s meant to be funny because it sounds like Ritz Crackers, but it’s really meant to highlight the mission of the show: Showcasing makers who have really honed their skillset and transformed their materials into unique, useful goods that anyone can use in their everyday life.

You first held Ritz Crafters in 2012, but then paused it a couple of years after you moved. Why did you think Rochester would be a good place to start it up again?

Rochester is in the process of transforming itself. There are so many people moving to the city that there is a demand for arts and culture events, especially during the worst part of winter. While Rochester may not be totally familiar with indie craft and how much fun it can be, it’s a place that is ripe to embrace new talent and try new experiences.

How is this different from other craft shows?

Ritz Crafters is indie craft. That means our makers are using old-school techniques, but in a fresh, more updated way. There’s usually some humor involved, and of course excellent craftsmanship. We’ll have a vendor who is upcycling old T-shirts into crocheted rugs that are in the shape of a giant piece of bacon or an avocado. Or we have jewelers who are forging their own metals or using a little, tiny jewelers’ saw to make beautiful earrings. Ritz Crafters is really about connecting shoppers with the people who are putting their thoughts, time, and hearts into what they’re making.

Is there anything else beside shopping?

There will be a little something for everyone at the show. For those that are hungry, we’ll have a food truck from the cities called Eastern Promises providing lunch. Café Steam and Drift Dough will be on site with delightful coffee and donuts. We’ll also have a full bar in operation that will be serving Bloody Marys and mimosas. If anyone wants to get crafty, Canvas and Chardonnay will also be hosting two sessions on macramé. We hope that whatever you delight in, you have fun and maybe get a little inspired to make something yourself.

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Reporter

Matt, a graduate of Toledo University with a bachelor’s degree in English literature, got his start in journalism in the U.S. Army. For the last 16 years, he has worked at the PB and currently reports on politics and life.