Strange Folk Festival now a two-day extravaganza
BY SCOTT WUERZ
Started three years ago as a way to give hip, young artists a creative outlet, the Strange Folk Festival has grown into a two-day extravaganza that has seen participation increase five-fold since 2006.
Organizer Autumn Wiggins said 20 vendors signed up for the first festival. This year, 120 will be there selling artwork, eclectic clothing, purses and other crafts, many of which are made out of recycled materials.
"The response, it's been just great," Wiggins said. "We have vendors signed up from all over the U.S. and Canada. The selection was juried this year, we had a lot more applicants than the 120 we approved."
The festival runs from Saturday through Sunday at O'Fallon Community Park.
Wiggins said the festival, which drew small crowds on one rain-soaked day three years ago, could draw as many as 10,000 people this year.
"When it was on Saturday only, some people had a tough time being here," Wiggins said. "Now that it has been expanded to Saturday and Sunday, it's only going to get bigger."
City Administrator Walter Denton is thrilled to hear those projections for several reasons.
"There are community benefits to festivals like this," Denton said. "First, it is an opportunity for residents to come together and enjoy a local event. Second, it is important to quality of life to support cultural events like the Strange Folk Festival. Third, these events have some economic impact in that visitors who visit the festival may stay in our hotels and shop in our stores."
In addition to a broader slate of vendors, Wiggins said a slate of musical acts are planned and food options will be greatly increased as well.
"This sort of event usually does pretty well in big cities, but I wasn't sure at first how it would go over in the suburbs," Wiggins said. "But it is one of the best-attended shows of its kind in the country. As far as local participation is concerned, it's one of the best shows there is."
This is an article that appeared in this mornings paper. When I read it I felt a little flutter of panic in my stomach. "As many as 10,000 visitors", that's enough to make me want to sew more. I struggled with sewing this weekend. Not just because my machines are worn out, I am too. Yesterday I spent the majority of the day making odds and ends, earrings, barrettes, magnets, push pins. By the end of it, I had a headache from the glue fumes and my hands were coated in sticky residue. But damned if I didn't get a lot done.
Time line to Strange Days:
Today- spend some much needed time with my son and work on displays
Tuesday- sew, sew, sew and oh yeah- sew
Wednesday- make the displays and make them portable
Thursday- last day of sewing for a good long while
Friday- pack it up and hit Oktoberfest for some family fun. My kid digs sausage and polka!
Saturday & Sunday- set up, drink coffee, hopefully not puke from nerves and then when I'm not selling my little heart out- crack jokes with Beqi. She pulled some strings and got me a booth right next to hers. Kind of makes up for the dream where while I went to get her coffee she packed up went home and the dream where she made me late and got us hopelessly lost.