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January 23, 2019

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Bluffton arts and crafts festival Saturday

Lots of family-friendly events on the schedule

A changing of the guard will take place at the 47th annual Bluffton Arts and Crafts Festival on Saturday, May 12.

Vendor manager emeritus Jerry Burkholder is showing the ropes to incoming manager Lauren Canaday and Bluffton Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Paula Scott.

“Jerry’s been part of the event for it’s entire history,” explains Scott, “so we feel confident and excited—and that we won’t really appreciate how it all comes together until after the show!”

Some 60 vendors will fill Bluffton’s downtown business district for the festival. There will also be a variety of free family activities and entertainment.

The chamber CEO notes, “These are people who either said, ‘yes, I’ve already got you on my calendar’ or who called looking for an opportunity to come to Bluffton. I just plugged them into the Arts and Crafts Festival.”

New this year
New this year are a quartet from the Lima Symphony Orchestra and an activities van from the Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District. The Hard Rock Llama Co., Hickle Pony Rides, and Mini Golf at Bluffton Presbyterian Church are familiar favorites for famllies.
Scott has a new appreciation for the vendors coming to the show: “They come from far and start arriving at 6 a.m. It’d be earlier if we’d let them. They make long friendships with their neighboring vendors and they bring others as new vendors. I hope that our visitors will not just take a look at their wares, that they discover the entrepreneurial spirit that’s on display and the hard work and dedication that go into these handmade items."
Scott also wants to express her appreciation for the business owners who take one for the team. “For places that are part of a shopper’s Saturday errand routine, you pay a price for closing Main Street. I’m incredibly grateful for their good sportsmanship and I encourage our residents to say thanks, too.”
The chamber hosts the show with the purpose of bringing shoppers to the village for the day and in the future. There are some 14 restaurants and retail food shops in the downtown district, as well as more than a dozen retailers including gift shops, new and second-hand clothing, and a bike shop. “Bluffton has an amazing village downtown. When a store front becomes available, it is snapped up,” says Scott.

9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Bluffton Arts & Crafts Festival opens at 9 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. That’s when the volunteers from Bluffton Clean Up will arrive to tidy up Main St.

The village staff and police department will have closed and reopened the road. “I’ve got a lot of people to thank at the end of Saturday,” says Scott; “It comes and goes in less than a day, but the festival is the work of hundreds."