Yolanda Prince has been to the N.C. State Fair twice, once with her school group and then once in 2015. This year, Prince will spend everyday at the fair as one of the craftsman in the Village of Yesteryear.
“It is my first year in the Village, however, I learned my craft from the late Mike Lowe, who was a member of the Village of Yesteryear for more than 30 years,” Prince said.
“I was interested in learning leatherwork and signed up for a class at the Hiddenite Crafts Center,” she said. “I was the only one that signed up so I contacted the instructor, who was Mike, and took one-on-one lessons.”
Prince is most known for her beautiful and intricate Bible covers. She will also be selling belts, journal covers and other leatherworks. “I also do a lot of custom leatherwork,” Prince added. “You can carve a lot of things into leather.”
Prince has been a regular at MerleFest for the past 10 years. She also participates in the Master Arts and Crafts show in Banner Elk. “Leatherwork has opened up a lot of doors for me,” she said. “It truly is a gift from God.”
The Village of Yesteryear is one of the N.C. State Fair’s most popular and enduring attractions. About 85 master craftsmen gather each fair to demonstrate and sell their crafts.
Fairgoers can get an early start on Christmas shopping with one-of-a-kind gifts, including pottery, beadwork, masonry, jewelry and more.
“The Village is a community of artists,” said Pam Earp, superintendent. “We are not only dedicated to our crafts, we are focused on demonstrating and teaching our crafts to fairgoers.”
Other new artists this year include Steve Stone of Raleigh, stone cutting and polishing; Laurel Dabbs of Westfield Center, Ohio, duck decoys and Patricia Matthews of Garner, pine needle weaving.
The Village of Yesteryear is located in the Holshouser Building near Heritage Circle. It is open daily 10 a.m. to 9:45 p.m.