Maker’s Mart : Craft fair set for Nov. 16 at Amtrak stationWritten by Logan Sander | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Handmade Toledo will host its second annual Maker’s Mart from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 16 in the Toledo Amtrak station’s Grand Lobby, at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Plaza. Maker’s Mart is an independent craft show that features crafters and artists from around the Toledo area.
The show is organized by Betty Floored of Oh Sew Betty, a local business that sells vintage-inspired dresses, purses and other handmade items at craft shows and on Etsy, a popular website that sells handmade items.
The first show took place last November, after Floored realized Toledo is the perfect place for such an art show.
“I had wanted to bring it to Toledo for a few years. I’ve been doing indie craft fairs in Detroit, Cleveland, Ann Arbor and all over the place for a few years and I was tired of always having to drive. Toledo has such an awesome art scene that it needs to have a scene for handmade, more utilitarian art. There is a market for it. There’s nothing like an indie craft fair or a handmade art fair [in Toledo],” Floored said.
Last year, Maker’s Mart included more than 40 vendors. This year, the event will showcase even more.
“Out of about 70 handmade vendors, we have anything that you could possibly think of — anything that you would want. We have T-shirts and jewelry, and we have people that are woodworkers and people that make handmade soaps, lotions and lip balms. There are different types of accessories, prints you can hang on the wall and mixed-media decor for the home. There are even people that [make] their own dye and spin their own yarn,” Floored said.
Each vendor was hand-picked from a pool of more than 100 applicants. The panel of people from Handmade Toledo chose each vendor months in advance in order to give both the vendors and themselves time to prepare for the huge event.
“It’s insane. We had well over 100 applications which is more than we have ever had. They were so good that we had to accept that many. I just kept saying to myself, ‘Man, now because we have these awesome vendors, we are going to have to organize an even bigger event,’” Floored said.
One veteran vendor, John Amato, will sell products from his company JUPMODE. He primarily creates T-shirts and other screenprinted work. His designs revolve around Toledo pride, with T-shirts displaying phrases like “You will do better in Toledo” or simply “419.”
“We take advantage of a nostalgia in a lot of our products. We are inspired by people that understand the history of Toledo and remember it fondly. We are focused pretty locally,” Amato said.
Amato said the event itself is important locally for craft-makers and artisans, as it has helped his own business.
“When [Maker’s Mart] came up, I didn’t think that I was a fit for it, because I thought it was more for crafty people or artists. Fortunately I applied, and it was a very successful event. I’ve sold in the past at other smaller events, but I’ve been looking for more opportunities to sell or participate in local shows. I would guess that [for] everyone who sold there, it was their best event of the year,” Amato said.
The event will also incorporate local restaurants, musicians and other companies. Po Mo’s Ribs and Antojitos Laredo, among other restaurants, will serve food, and local musicians will play unplugged throughout the day. There will be a free photo booth and a caricature artist to entertain visitors amid the shopping.
Maker’s Mart also encourages people to bring the whole family; children are welcome.
“There will be a few craft ‘make-and-take’ tables geared toward kids. I am an art educator, and we have some other art educators who will be there to work with the kids. We want it to be a family-friendly event,” Floored said.
Floored wants Maker’s Mart to offer a certain atmosphere, not just be another fair or shopping opportunity.
“Maker’s Mart — it isn’t just you go there and buy stuff. I like to create an atmosphere and I like to create an experience. It’s something that you will actually remember instead of just walking through aisles of vendors. That was part of the idea behind the original Maker’s Mart — an event, more than just a craft show. We try to create an entire experience,” Floored said.
Both Floored and Amato feel this event is important for Toledo because it gives local artists and businesses an opportunity to share their talents and products.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for people to buy local. You can’t ask for a better opportunity to buy something handmade from someone in Toledo. Places like the mall are open all year round, but this is one opportunity you can really support local business. There was a great turnout last year and I expect to see the same this year,” Amato said.
Maker’s Mart will run from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Parking is free in the lot in front of the Amtrak station, 415 Emerald Ave., and the location is a stop on the Arts Commission Holiday Loop around the city, which is giving free bus rides around Downtown from noon to 5 p.m. that same day.
Handmade Toledo’s next event will be a spring show on April 19. A similar event took place last year and attracted more than 3,000 people in one day.
For more information on Handmade Toledo or Maker’s Mart, visit handmadetoledo.com.
Tags: Ann Arbor, Antojitos Laredo, Betty Floored, Cleveland, Detroit, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza, Handmade Toledo, John Amato, JUPMODE, Maker's Mart, Po Mo’s Ribs, Toledo Amtrak station’s Grand Lobby