For years, Tom and I went annually to the Yankee Peddler Festival in Canal Fulton, Ohio. It has been held the first two weekends in September for 44 years. The vendors dress up in Colonial historic dress and anything that isn’t period has to be out of sight. We always enjoyed this festival with the expert crafts, delicious foods, and wonderful entertainment. So when I saw signs for the Prairie Peddler Festival in Bulter, Ohio, I was intrigued.
I did some research and found out that the Prairie Peddler Festival has been running in Butler for 29 years. The festival dates are the last weekend in September and the first weekend in October. Although the focus is on the early 1800’s, vendors were dressed in a variety of ways and modern items were in plain view all over the place. There were almost 200 craft booths with a huge variety of items for sale. We saw beautiful shaker boxes, baskets of potpourri, homemade soaps, specialty syrups and sauces, and lots of Christmas ornaments. There were booths full of Ohio State items, Halloween themed booths, and Christmas themed booths.
I had to admire the marketing strategy of two of the booths. Boswell’s Beanery and Blends (specialty food products and condiments, soups, coffees, teas, dips, dressings, sauces, and seasonings) put out big bowls of stick pretzels surrounded by their dips, dressings, and sauces. People were trying everything and would inevitably buy some of what they were trying. John picked up some hot sauce that he liked. A second booth, Ron and Frank’s Drink Mixes, had big silver thermoses full of their drink mixes. You could try a sip of “chocolate covered cherry” or “english toffee” hot chocolate. They had many of the same flavor blends made with Splenda or Stevia if you wanted to skip the sugar. Jackie is not shy about trying samples and she encouraged the rest of us to try some of the products.
Of course there was a huge variety of food vendors at the Prairie Peddler. The local United Methodist Church had a nice booth with a long line. We tried a variety of the foods. Tom got a pulled pork sandwich. John and Jackie got apple fritters, corn dogs, and fried cheese on a stick. I had a bite of Tom’s sandwich and then ate a wonderful peach cobbler as my main dish. There were smoked turkey legs, corn on the cob, bratwurst, donuts, and cobblers. And, of course, lots of fudge.
While we walked around the Prairie Peddler Festival, we were treated to music by many different groups. There were Christian Cloggers, Minstrels, the Sawmill Ridge Bluegrass Band, Northwest Territory, Black Horse, and the Stockdale Family Band. There was also an auction to benefit the Mansfield Domestic Violence Shelter.
The Prairie Peddler Festival is very well laid out and organized. It has a huge variety of food and craft vendors. The biggest negative about the whole festival was the crowds of people. There were so many people that it was hard to move. There were long lines for most of the food booths. We were in a traffic jam getting into the parking area and then parked a distance away from the entrance. We were glad for the walk but handicapped people were having a hard time getting around and there weren’t enough shuttles (golf carts) to get everyone in. We were surprised at so many people, but that makes the festival a success for the organizers and vendors.
We enjoyed our visit to the Prairie Peddler Festival. If you haven’t been, it is still running this weekend. Otherwise, you might want to mark it on your calendar and visit next year.