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The Father of All Craft Fairs

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The best dads are more than happy with a pancake breakfast, a homemade card and an afternoon in a park, but this Father's Day, we'd recommend that you reward the men who make family life awesome with a special gift. And, lucky for you, the city's mecca of well-designed crafts, the INDIEana Handicraft Exchange, runs right alongside the Independent Music and Arts Festival, AKA IMAF, at the Harrison Center for the Arts.

To help you navigate the 100-plus juried vendors, we've come up with a game plan. Find the perfect gift to make Sunday a special event for your pops, daddy-o, husband or parenting son with our picks below.

DEBONAIR / JILLY JACK DESIGNS LLC
  • Debonair / Jilly Jack Designs LLC

For the Design-Savvy Dad:

For the father with a discerning eye for proportion, pattern and hue, it's important to find distinctive pieces with just the right amount of flair.

    • Yes, ties are a bit of a Father's Day cliché, but they are also perfect gifts for men who like to get gussied up here and there. Louisville-based Debonair creates bowties from a mix of tame and bold fabrics, and each is a self-tie that also has easy-to-use snaps in the back. Tie it well once, and dad is set. If you want to get the entire family looking as cool as dad, check out the company's little-guy ties and hairbows, too.

    • Fashion is all well and good, but man does not live by attire alone. All the dads in my life require a good coffee daily, and the "Perfect Cup of Coffee" print, created by Sheridan, Indiana's Jilly Jack Designs LLC, adds about as much sweetness to caffeine as a spoonful of sugar.

    CORNFLOWER PRESS / SAGE'S SIMPLE SYRUPS
    • Cornflower Press / Sage's Simple Syrups

    For the Foodie Father:

    Everyone needs to eat. But some men take eating to a new level of refinement, enjoyment and merriment.


      • For those Midwestern fellows with a culinary passion, Cornflower Press offers a number of well-designed linocut prints and posters. "High on the Hog" would delight barbecue addicts and her loteria-inspired prints with an ice cream cone, tomato, chicken or elote (Spanish for corn -- and ideally smeared with crema, queso fresco, spices and lime juice) are perfect for hungry papas.

      • Mad Men's mini-season may be over, but cocktail culture is alive and well for many guys. Sage's Simple Syrups are perfect for creating kicky drinks and mocktails alike. Co-owner Ryan O'Neill -- himself a dad (the company's named for his daughter) -- recommends the Roasted Apple syrup with Bourbon. His favorite drink, though, is a virgin mojito made with the Lime Mint syrup.

      JACK HEINZ / THE COLLECTIVE PRESS
      • Jack Heinz / The Collective Press

      For the Professional Padre:

      Work-life balance is tricky for all parents. For the dad who is a champion on the clock and a family-fun ringleader on the weekend, office décor and a place to jot down the next big idea are great options.


        • Jack Heinz, a company named for sole founder and employee Mark Williams, creates handcrafted leather goods in Indianapolis. His Vonnegut journal holder (which comes with a complementary Field Notes booklet) lends literary esteem to meeting notes and offers a stylish spot for doodles.

        • Bloomington's The Collective Press offers letterpress posters, signs, cards and more, printed on an antique press with old typefaces -- a nice present source for any hardworking father. Help dad find motivation at home or at work with the "Never Give Up" print, offered in a variety of colors.

        THE BRICK SHIRT HOUSE / STONESTERS
        • The Brick Shirt House / Stonesters

        For the Hoppy Pop:

        Regardless of his preference for pilsner, porter or pale ales, dads who enjoy a good drink can't have enough fun beer-related objects. And the vendors at the Harrison will have plenty to offer in the way of prints and tees imprinted with boozy designs. Two picks that move beyond those two formats:


          • "Drink Indiana" growlers by The Brick Shirt House offer a marketing-free refill experience for men who like to go straight to the source -- or the tap, as the case may be -- for their cold beverages. Word of advice: tell the pourer to leave the brewery branded sticker off this pretty container.

          • Rock and beer are a match made in heaven, especially when the rock in question is sliced up and turned into hefty coasters. Stonesters is devoted to turning limestone, granite and "pudding stone" into sturdy spots that keep your furniture free of the dreaded water ring.

          The only challenge with shopping the Handicraft Exchange for a gift for dad is trying not to shop for oneself. So, go with a mission and maybe leave a little room in the budget for the gift giver, as well.

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