The annual One of a Kind Show and Sale truly lives up to its name, esteemed as one of the most quintessential holiday season craft markets in the country. Located inside the historic Merchandise Mart, this year's event takes place December 3 through 6, featuring a dizzying array of gourmet delicacies, artists' wares, craft goods, apparel, and so much more, provided by more than 600 artists. It's truly one of a kind.
As the One of a Kind Show and Sale enters its 15th year, the event has amassed its most impressive lineup of vendors to date. As its name suggests, all artists and purveyors are wholly unique, specializing in a craft good you won't find anywhere else, be it the best bottle of maple syrup you'll ever taste or a bar of farmhouse soap that's sure to upgrade your next bath. The show is pretty enormous, spanning an entire floor of The Mart. And considering the building is so huge it once possessed its own zip code, you know that's saying something. Grab a floor map once you enter the show, get a beer from one of the pop-up bars, and begin perusing. The show is divvied logically into themed areas, from edible items in one area to apparel, housewares, art, and more located elsewhere. Here's a brief overview of the types of things you can expect from Chicago's crown jewel craft fair.
The One of a Kind Show raises the bar in terms of gourmet goodies, many of which would make for impressive stocking-stuffers or pantry provisions for the holidays. In some cases, the goods make for great shopping snacks while you explore the labyrinthine show.
EDIBLE GIFTS & GOODIES
Burton's Maplewood Farm out of Medora, Indiana, sells some of the greatest maple syrup you'll ever taste, available in Grade A, Grade B, and offbeat varietals like bourbon barrel-aged and bacon-infused. The handcrafted syrups from Jo Snow Syrups, featuring unusual combinations like tangerine-lavender-honey and fig-vanilla-black pepper, make for exceptional additions to coffee, cocktails, sodas, ice creams, and beyond. Rare Bird Preserves makes some of the best seasonally inspired fruit preserves and curds you'll ever encounter, while Mayana Chocolate from Wisconsin easily ups the ante on holiday sweets. Cook up a festive feast at home with provisions from Spencer's Jolly Posh Foods, a company specializing in British and Irish foods, or go local with Big Forks, a Chicago-based sausage vendor renowned for their top-tier pork, chicken, and bacon creations. Dia de los Tamales is a local Pilsen-based restaurant with a penchant for modern Mexican fare like you've never tasted (think apple cobbler tamales), while Holiday Fried Pecans speaks for itself. Another apt spot to hit up for the holiday season is Grown Up Kid Stuff, a vendor focused on all-natural gourmet chocolate sauces. And there's lots more where this all came from, so go hungry.
While the One of a Kind Show and Sale certainly packs an array of edible goodies, the show also features more than enough eye candy as well. And by that, I mean art aplenty. This year, you can expect to marvel at a myriad of artists who happen to be committed to environmental and sustainable work, which only serves to wow attendees even further.
Using recycled wine, beer, and soda bottles, Kathleen Plate of Smart Glass Jewelry manufactures unique tabletops, jewelry, and light fixtures. Century Farmhouse Soaps specializes in handcrafted soaps in scents like mint and witch-hazel, made using natural essential oils from small farms. One of the most eye-catching and unique artists at the show is Amy Flynn of Fobots, who uses found materials from flea markets and junk yards to create robots sculptures. Then there's Think Again, a company that maximizes scraps of paper, childhood memorabilia, and seed packets to create jewelry and accessories.
All of that is just a small snippet of what to expect from the One of a Kind Show and Sale. Other offerings include CHC, a collection of handcrafted leather goods via Chicago's own Chelli Look; an assortment of original scarves, pocket squares, bandannas, and ascots from Late Sunday Afternoon; vintage-inspired porcelain wares courtesy of Miss Millie; whimsical watercolor illustrations by Marnani Design; and much more.
The One of a Kind Show and Sale takes place on the 7th floor of The Merchandise Mart. Tickets are $12 for adults and children 12 and under are free, with a portion of ticket sales benefiting Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital.
Hours for the show are 11:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. on December 3 and December 4; 10:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. on December 5; and 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on December 6. Visit oneofakindshowchicago.com for more information.
Images via Erica Zap, Mexica Crafts, and Studio KMO