With less than a week before the official kick-off of the fan-favorite International Folk Art Market, the festivities are already underway. Every year, shoppers from near and far assemble en masse to shop for—or just look at—unique creations from around the world. This year, the market celebrates its sweet 16, and it's now bigger than ever with over 100 artists from 52 different countries.

But if battling the throngs of people who gather every year isn't your thing, or if paying your bills takes precedence over paying an entrance fee­, hey, we feel you. SFR has you covered, though, with plenty of other opportunities to get your folk art fix thanks to the market's addition of companion events that take the action off of Museum Hill.

Various businesses around town play host to an array of visiting artists throughout the week leading up to the market, starting on Saturday July 6. These artist demonstrations give attendees an introduction to the market's artisans as they share information on their cultures, as well as demonstrate their crafts. Watch Ghanan jeweler Ebenezer Nomoda Djaba string together colorful recycled glass beads at The Legacy at Santa Fe senior living community on Saturday and Sunday, or Cuban painter Luis Rodriguez Ricardo create works that illustrate life in his homeland at Cowgirl on Wednesday. Find a slew of other events on the IFAM website. Almost all demos are free and open to the public, but check the schedule ahead of time to be sure.

Maasai Beading Workshop

Market artist Phoebe Lasoi of the Kitengela community in Kenya gives a talk at Santa Fe Community College about her life in Kenya and the role of beading in her culture. The talk is followed up by a workshop where attendees can make a Maasai-style beaded leather medallion. This event is part of IFAM's efforts to extend its reach to another part of town, and if you have the cash to spare, it's a great way to have a more personal experience while creating your own memento.

2-5 pm Tuesday July 9. $64. Santa Fe Community College Trades and Advanced Technology Center, 6401 Richards Ave., 428-1676

These free events help families learn about different cultures and experience folk art as they complete hands-on, themed art projects at a couple different library branches. Multiple workshops offer a chance to check out different arts: Complete a batik painting—a form from India that uses dyes and wax on fabric—or make a medallion necklace. Kids must to be accompanied by an adult, so plan for an afternoon or two of artsy family fun.

3:30-4:30pm Tuesday July 9 (batik painting) and July 23 (medallion necklaces). Free. Santa Fe Public Library Southside branch, 6599 Jaguar Drive, 476-1215

3:30-4:30pm Tuesday July 11 (medallion necklaces). Free. Santa Fe Public Library La Farge Branch, 1730 Llano St., 476-1215

The folks at IFAM team up with chef Paul Raj Kaurppasamy of Paper Dosa to offer an in-depth, demonstration-style class on classic Indian dishes. Learn about the seasoned chef's culture as he shares the culinary techniques of his homeland. This is one of the weeks costlier events, but you'll get to enjoy a full meal and leave with recipes to try at home.

10 am-1 pm Thursday July 11. $90. Santa Fe School of Cooking, 125 N Guadalupe St., 983-4511

The people behind IFAM put on this free community celebration at the Plaza to kick off the market every year. Catch a procession with an introduction to each of the artists of this year's market, plus food, entertainment and appearance by author and activist Ndaba Mandela, grandson of Nelson Mandela. This year's festivities include music by celebrated musician Frank Leto and his band PANdemonium, as well as an Afro-Cuban and Brazilian dance performance by Albuquerque-based Odara Dance Ensemble.

5:30 pm Thursday July 11. Free. Santa Fe Plaza, 63 Lincoln Ave.,
984-8900

If you don't mind the crowds at the market but tickets for the whole family come with a hefty price tag, Sunday's goings-on might be a better option. This family event comes at a lower cost with discounted prices for adults, and children under 16 get in for free (youths under 16 get in free from 10 am-5:30 pm on Saturday, too). Make sure to pick up a "passport" for your kids; they can visit and interact with artist representatives from different countries to learn more, and earn flag stickers from each country. A full passport earns a special badge, and it's a great, low-cost way to get your kids out and learning while having fun.

9 am-5 pm Sunday July 15. $15 for adults, free for under 16. Museum Hill, 710 Camino Lejo, 984-8900