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The Feria Maestro del Arte Celebrated Young Artists This Year

Artisan at Feria Maestro del Arte in Chapala, Mexico
Credit: David Huff

Lake Chapala’s Feria Maestro del Arte celebrated young artists this year with the theme “Ancient Traditions-New Hands,” reflecting the number of young people now engaging in the craft skills of their parents and earlier generations.

Around 85 outstanding artisans from across Mexico showcased a variety of high-quality handicrafts and folk art at the 18th annual Feria Maestro del Arte, which took place the weekend of November 8-10 at the Club de Yates (Chapala Yacht Club) in Chapala.

Shoppers and collectors were tempted by this huge selection of clothing and textiles, ceramics, toys, dolls, jewelry, masks, useful household furnishings and a diversity of articles created from straw, beads, paper, metal and wood. The mission of the Feria for nearly two decades has been to preserve and promote Mexico’s native art forms and provide these crafts vendors an opportunity to sell their creations to individuals and galleries. The feria supports the livelihood of hundreds of families and fosters regional and international awareness of Mexico’s endangered arts.

This year the event featured 45 new artists who traveled to Lakeside from various regions of the country. Among them was Fernando Cisneros from Jalisco’s community of Concepción de Buenos Aires on Lake Chapala’s southside. A world-famous huaraches (sandals) artisan, he sold both standard huaraches and customized. Another first-timer was master jeweler Wilibaldo Garcia Tomas from the central Mexican state of Mexico. For musicians, famous guitar craftsmen from Paracho, in the neighboring state of Michoacán, were in attendance.

The feria also paid special tribute this year to its home state with a Jalisco Pavilion. Among its exhibitors were the Children’s Art Program that is sponsored by Ajijic’s own Lake Chapala Society, tequila sampling and sales by Sandy and Daniel Distillery and salsa creations by famed Chef Agustin of Viva Mexico Restaurant in San Juan Cosala.

Visitors also were able to attend lectures throughout the three-day festival and enjoy stage entertainment, which included Guadalajara’s well-known female mariachi troupe and Chapala’s youthful ballet folkloric dancers.

Fashion shows featured handcrafted clothing and roving musicians performed among shoppers on the Yacht Club grounds. The Yacht Club and other organizations offered an assortment of food and beverages for sale. For seafood lovers, there were a variety of restaurants just beyond the Yacht Club gates, including Chapala’s Restaurante Islas Cozumel, which served complementary margaritas with each meal.

The Feria Maestro del Arte is held the second weekend of November each year. If you are interested and wish to receive the festival’s newsletter, visit their  website to sign-up. If you are planning to go next year, be sure to make your lodging reservations early. Local hotels and B&Bs fill quickly.