Fall Northampton • Around the Show

Around the show there is so much to do, see, touch and savor —

whether you come for a day or the whole weekend. Paradise City is an art museum, a learning experience, a food festival, a feast for the eyes and retail therapy, all rolled up into one. Explore the three airy Exhibition Buildings connected by covered walkways to each other and to the Festival Dining Tent. For 29 years, the Paradise City Arts Festival has been New England’s cultural, culinary and leaf-peeping destination. Take this opportunity to support the arts and do your holiday shopping at Paradise City!

One aspect of the Paradise City Arts Festival that really sets it apart is the enormous range of the work on display. The Directors curate for variety: each artist’s booth has a unique viewpoint, and the prices for their work may start at $20 and top out at $10,000. A blend of fine art and fine craft provides a synergy that can inspire collectors to look at something new. Attendees who come expecting to see just functional crafts find themselves inspired by the work of painters, sculptors, and printmakers. Paradise City is unusual in that it has successfully integrated fine art and handmade craft into one show where both are taken seriously, and one can always find an affordable memento from the show to bring home.

Under the Festival Dining Tent

The Festival Dining Tent at the Paradise City Arts Festival is a microcosm of Northampton’s vibrant restaurant scene, with music wafting through the air and recipes that come from the heart. The region’s restaurants at this fall’s show use locally grown foods straight from the Valley’s farms. Sample everything from exotic curries and dim sum to locavore burgers, lobster rolls, and yummy desserts.


All weekend long Paradise City presents original music, jazz, and swing by three of the region’s favorite bands, from noon – 4pm Saturday & Sunday and 11:30 – 3:30 Monday:

  • Saturday, October 7: The Green Street Trio, featuring Paul Arslanian on piano, George Kaye on bass, and Jon Fisher on drums, showing off their jazz chops with style and verve. They are bringing back Avery Joi, a young up-and-coming guest vocalist from New York City. 
  • Sunday, October 8: The O-Tones! A perennial favorite of Paradise City attendees, this six-piece band showcases powerful vocal harmonies, catchy rhythms, soulful horns, and amazing strings.
  • Monday, October 9: The Barbara Ween Ensemble. Vocalist Barbara Ween’s roots are in classic jazz standards, tempered by her upbringing in Tennessee. Known hereabouts as the Jazz Diva, she is accompanied by a stellar ensemble of musicians.

Craft Cocktails

What turns an ordinary drink into a Craft Cocktail? Some of the same elements that make the work of our exhibiting artists so special! For one thing, it’s made with more care. It’s not boilerplate, and the bartender is a little more passionate about getting it just right.

In addition to the usual bar menu of wine, beer and drinks, the Show Directors concocted signature Craft Cocktails for Paradise City. Stop by the bar in the Festival Dining Tent for a Manhattan Meets Northampton. The addition of a Bada Bing Cherry and a dash of local maple syrup takes a traditional Manhattan to a whole new place. Or try the Paradise City Cosmopolitan!

Kick back with one of these cocktails, relax with a scrumptious lunch and show your friends the artful contents of your shopping bags.

Silent Art Auction to Benefit the Northampton Chamber of Commerce

Visit the Silent Art Auction tables in Building 3! Paradise City Arts Festival, by holding this year’s auction to benefit the Chamber, helps our host city build on its aura of a great cultural destination. Northampton possesses a unique downtown “walking Main Street”, filled with independently owned one-of-a-kind shops, galleries, restaurants, antique stores, nightclubs, and theaters. Paradise City’s exhibiting artists and the community have generously donated beautiful items to be auctioned each day of the event. 100% of the proceeds from the auction will benefit the Chamber and the Downtown Northampton Association. Paradise City has raised nearly half a million dollars over the years to benefit regional non-profits. The auction tables close at 4pm on Saturday and Sunday and 3pm on Monday.

Special Exhibit: TWO x TWO

The concept of two, in all the forms it takes, is nearly mystical; it is the simplest grouping that takes us outside of ourselves, the simplest option to compare, the simplest to contrast.

In art and craft, we see paired objects, one never seen without the other. Think salt and pepper shakers, or bedside tables. We see opposites dueling in contrast: light and dark, big and small, old and new. We see collaborations in their purest forms, in partnerships between married couples or collaborators. We are naturally drawn to pairs as a way to understand the world, to tackle its challenges, explain its mysteries, season its food. We have two eyes, two ears, two arms, two legs. Only one nose, but even that has two nostrils. We perceive the world through sets of two, through pairs and twins and diptychs and couples. It is so fundamental a theme that artists may not even realize they are using it; we naturally gravitate toward narratives and groupings of two. 

Experience the power of two at this very cool exhibition in – of course – Building 2!

How Do They Do It?

Paradise City keeps your hands, eyes and brain busy. Get a glimpse of the technique and thought process behind each piece of art or craft, whether it’s during a demonstration or just talking to individual artists. It’s one of the many pleasures of this event.

Plus… The changing installations and large-scale sculpture along the Sculpture Promenade between the Festival Dining Tent and the Exhibition Buildings are catnip for kids, Instagram heaven and full of fantastic decorating ideas for your own gardens. Think of how a beautiful firepit, stone fountain or towering metal and glass sculpture would enhance your fall/winter landscape!

Enter to Win a Shopping Spree!

There’s always a winner, and it could be you. Visitors may stop by the shopping spree tables at any time during the show to place their entry for a drawing in one of the big baskets. The winner will receive a gift certificate for a $250 shopping spree that may be redeemed at an exhibitor’s booth at any Paradise City Arts Festival over the next year.

Tour Northampton and the Valley!

Deep in the heart of the Connecticut River Valley, surrounded by the gently rolling foothills of the Green Mountains and the Berkshires, lies Northampton, the hometown of the Paradise City Arts Festival. In autumn, the hills are draped in the blazing colors of New England’s fall foliage and the bustling “#1 Small Arts Town in America” becomes the weekend home to hundreds of the country’s most celebrated artists and craft makers.

New England’s most uncommon destination is definitely Northampton. It surprises you with its sophistication, diversity and eclectic flavor, its small-town ambiance and big-city features, all housed within typical New England clapboard and masonry architecture. But there’s so much more! Visit one of the region’s world-class museums, then hike to the top of Mount Sugarloaf for the spectacular view of the Connecticut River that has inspired artists for nearly two hundred years. Take advantage of miles of bike paths through farmlands, woodlands and along the river. Walk the Holyoke Range, picnic and play in Northampton’s beautiful city parks or take your clubs to one of the many challenging public golf courses in the region.

Check out visithampshirecounty.com and please support our advertising sponsors in the Paradise City Guide.