By Emma Palova
Fallasburg, MI- Nestled under the autumn foliage near the Fallasburg Covered Bridge, pioneer vendors tested the first annual bazaar waters last weekend.
Like the early village pioneers, they braved the wind and the rain. And finally the sun showed up.
But, it wasn’t just the nature’s elements, it was also the novelty of the venue. Most of them like the Hubbert’s Kettle Corn and Natures Serenity had the experience to pull off a show with a regular venue circuit all over west Michigan.
Here at the village just a stroll away from the popular Fall Festival for the Arts they faced the unknown.
“Will people come, will they know where to go,” they questioned. “Where is my spot?”
The idea behind the village bazaar was to piggyback on an already established event, and mainly to bring awareness to the forgotten village.
However, crossing the Covered Bridge into the past was a challenge for most attendees at the fall fest. The fall fest in itself overwhelms with hundreds of booths, 47-year long tradition, a faithful following and a hard-to-get parking spot.
“We hoped to get some of that traffic,” said organizer Michelle Emaus. “We offer variety here.”
True, the vendors ranged from crochet hats and jewelry, welded art, rock art, wood sculptures with wool, clothing, wood carvings, paintings on wood, and repurposed furniture.
Moreover, the setting in the pioneer village amidst the Tower Farm & Barn and the Misner House on the east side evoked an atmosphere from the past.
“This has great potential,” said Steve Hubbert, inventor of Unicorn Poop kettle corn. “I can see booths all the way down to the bridge. Give it five years. Yes, I would come back, it would be a neat thing to be a part of.”
Hubbert gave up the profitable and parallel Alto Fest for the bazaar. But, he has no regrets. He got his money back, like most vendors who stayed through Sunday did.
Linda Kropf Phillips of Natures Serenity suggested food booths and bringing in a car show that would draw people to the bazaar, as well as better signage with an arrow.
“Make it fun for kids, have some games,” said Kropf Phillips, “Some old time music from way back.”
“Of course there are glitches,” said Marcia Alkema with Rock Art. “The Grand Rapids Public schools still has them.”
Alkema wowed to come back next year, if she can still get a good spot.
“I love it out here,” she said. “I’d rather be here than at the festival. It’s a prime location.”
Nancy Price Stroosnyder staffing the Whites Bridge Historical Society Booth said she would definitely come back next year.
“The Fallasburg Historical Society has helped us so much,” she said.
Approximately 20 people came to the village from a distance to explore the museum buildings. However, only the one-room schoolhouse museum was open for tours.
“It takes a team effort to put this together,” said Becky Hubbert. “You have to have the buildings open like you promised.”
The one-room school house enjoyed many visitors, mainly families with kids.
The kids explored the school and some played outside with the pump, others pulled the rope to ring the bell. At the same time, a vintage baseball tournament was taking place on the field. The Fallasburgh Flats played against the Ludington Mariners.
“You have to give it time,” said park manager Doug Wilbur. “This is only the first year.
For more info about the FHS go to: http://www.fallasburg.org
Visit also our partners Tri-RiverHistorical Museum Network on facebook and on http://www.michigan.org
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