Yesterday, we received our acceptance letter into a wonderful, large Ohio festival, The Shaker Woods Festival. The Shaker Woods Festival is an amazing opportunity for us, and I am so appreciative and grateful for the opportunity. In early January, we traveled to Columbiana, Ohio, for an interview with the festival organizer. The trip to Columbiana is an easy drive, and it is filled with beautiful rural scenery. The festival organizer is the daughter of the festival founders, and we can see how much this festival means to her. Her parents are now advanced in age, and they have passed the torch to their daughter. Lana does a thorough job of vetting the potential vendors, keeping things fresh and exciting, and having a wide variety of quality handmade artisans.
The Shaker Woods Festival is the type of event that feels like a good fit for us. Aside from The Ligonier Country, we have yet to attend an in-person show that feels like family and is a good fit. We actually don’t attend any in-person events other than The Ligonier Country Market. Our friend, Wendy, is kind enough to do in-person events for us all over the state. Wendy does a fantastic job, and we can maintain our duties here at the farm. If I am honest, twenty markets per season are as much as we can handle. By the time the market season is over, we are exhausted. However, we love The Ligonier Country Market and agree that we will be the ones to attend as long as we are able.
We get the same feel from The Shaker Woods Festival. There is a strong family commitment that is apparent to one in just one brief meeting. It is also a bonus that my market bestie and Eric’s “market wife,” Tricia Brown from Canine Confections, attend this festival as well. This makes it even more appealing for us because we adore Trish. Overall, we are over the moon for this opportunity and can’t wait to begin preparing for the event.
There are some unique practices one must agree to in order to attend the festival. Most interesting is we have to purchase a building on the festival grounds. They are not elaborate structures, more like rustic sheds, and they are yours as long as you are welcome to attend the festival. There is a second large festival in the fall, Christmas in the Woods Festival, and one must choose between the two events. One is not permitted to attend both festivals. Whichever festival one does not attend, one must “rent” one’s building to a vendor attending the opposite event. Also, most humorously is, everyone who attends these festivals as a vendor must dress in shaker garb. This means one bib overall wearing wonder buns is not permitted to wear his usual denim bibbies. I was fully prepared to have him wear knee-length boots, period trousers, and a flowing white shirt. However, one of his first questions for Lana was, “Can I wear bib overalls?” Lana said as long as they are not denim, he is welcome to wear bibs, a white shirt, and a traditional shaker hat. You have no idea how much this disappointed me. Jordan and I are permitted to wear long skirts or maxi dresses. My friend Trish wears a simple black maxi dress, which is acceptable. The Bean and I will probably have long skirts with deep pockets made just for the festival.
In August, GramBarb, The Bean, and I attended one of the three weekends of The Shaker Woods Festival. I like to participate in events as a shopper before attending as a vendor. This festival was amazing and did not disappoint. The crowd in attendance was huge. If I remember correctly, I believe there are somewhere in the ballpark of 15,000 people who attend this festival. It was a sweltering day in August, and the place was teeming with people. It was so busy that Trish barely had time to say hello. Rather than a friendly visit, we helped her bag purchases and restocked her inventory. It was mad. However, this festival is well worth attending. Incredible food vendors and more than 200 artisans and crafters made the most unique and beautiful wares. It was phenomenal.
So, dear reader, we are thrilled with the opportunity to attend this venue. It is a mere two-hour drive from our farm in Indiana, Pa. The countryside is beautiful, and the little town of Columbiana is like something from a Hallmark movie. If you are able, I strongly encourage you to make plans to attend. You will get to see my bibbed wonder in some form of festive garb that alone is worth attending. The dates for the festival are August 13-14-20-21-27-28. We hope to see you there and can’t wait to make this festival a special destination for our soap family.
Stay safe, be smart, mark your calendar, and keep washing your hands on this chilly February Friday. Have a wonderful weekend, dear reader.