SLUG Magazine Article...

Beehive Bazaar

by: Jessica Davis (

  [Noelle Olpin, Duane Call and Molly Call. Illustration: Manuel Aguilar]

Crafting. If you haven’t heard of the new generation of crafters, the word itself can conjure up images of a granny with knitting needles making pastel fuzzy sweaters. The Beehive Bazaar, produced and founded by Noelle Olpin and the husband-wife team Molly and Duane Call, is a craft fair for those trendy crafters cleverly disguised as mothers, girlies and possibly the cute boy in the freshly screen-printed tee.

The current incarnation of the Beehive Bazaar was started back in 2004. Molly Call, Noelle Oplin and Stephanie Higginbotham, three crafty moms living in Utah County, decided to come together and share their talents. Instead of trying to set aside ‘craft time’ they decided to be productive by calling it the Beehive Bazaar, in hopes a name would make it happen. Starting as a quiet event in a small rented house, it eventually grew and moved to the Women’s Council Cultural Center in Provo, turning into a bi-annual event, taking place over multiple days, that features 75 of the best new artists/crafters from around Utah. As the once-small gathering of friends casually sharing their love to craft began attracting hundreds of applicants and many more hungry buyers, a change in organization became apparent. Ultimately, it was inevitable that the Bazaar would outgrow its home in the Women’s Council Cultural Center.

At the last Beehive Bazaar, Duane Call recalls nine-and-a-half month pregnant woman standing as the last in line at 1 a.m., with two full bags of handmade goods, on the phone with her husband, “[She was] saying, no her water hadn’t broke, and yes she was checking out. We had to run each little item and it takes like 15 minutes to type in each item. At the end, we hit the wrong button and erased the whole thing.” He says, “With a check-out line wait at around two hours, it became a test of weeding out the weak.” To avoid the long-lines and stress encountered at the last Bazaar, Olpin and the Calls have decided to relocate to Thanksgiving Point for this year’s Spring Bazaar.

Although the last Beehive Bazaar was held in December, the planning to make the Spring Bazaar bigger and better keeps the organizers busy. “It’s a never ending process of preparing for the next show. It’s gone from something we had to stop to think about, to an almost full time thing,” says Oplin. With event coordinating, set-up, maintenance and check-out becoming overwhelming, Thanksgiving Point was decided as the best move, with the perks of a convention center able to handle set-up, tear-down and all customer check-out arrangements––aspects of the event that previously left Olpin and the Call’s without a lunch break.

Although there’s more space, the number of artists will stay the same, but the Beehive Bazaar will be able to provide more entertainment. Before, you mingled and ate free cupcakes while waiting in line. This year, there will be door prizes, live bands and a ‘meet and greet’ the artists—which at previous events wasn’t practical. “There’s Gentry of Frosty Darling. She plays the part so well, and now you can see the artist and get excited to know that’s what they do,” says Duane. “Making you want their creations even more,” says Oplin.

With Thanksgiving Point as a midway point, hopefully it will intrigue more people from both the Salt Lake and Provo areas to come out. Entrance to the event will stay free as before, except for opening night, which will be a VIP night. “Everyone wants to come the first night because you have first dibs,” says Molly. Most of the items being one-of-a-kind makes it understandable that patrons filled the building within the first hour last time, followed by the fire department. “So a small price will be worth not having to crawl over everyone else,” says Oplin.

From 2004 to 2010, Molly says it started out as a way to contribute to Provo. “Now we just want to make it special, to be like Christmas,” says Duane, “with the consumer ideas today of want, buy and simply going out and getting it nothing is special anymore because there’s not a wait. We want people to celebrate their brains out. When we don’t feel that anymore, we might as well find a spot at the mall.” “Though we will have a shop online for certain hand-picked items this summer,” says Molly.

From hand-sewn to recycled-vintage, grandma has been revamped. Whether you’re in need of hand-sewn dolls, Utah themed soap, or simply something new and eyebrow-raising, the Spring 2010 Beehive Bazaar is your best stop to find it.