STAFFORD - The second annual Makers Fest in Manahawkin Lake Park Saturday brought 125 artists/artisans, eight bands to take turns providing musical background and 10 vendors selling food and drink,. The Makers Fest was conceived, designed, promoted, organized, managed and run by a local group calling itself The Make Shift Union.
It started three years ago when Erin Buterick and Jeannine Errico had a Vintage Shop in Surf City, and with friend Danielle Corso saw the one-stop shop wasn’t enough. They wanted to have a way to promote local businesses and art of local artists and craftspeople. With The Make Shift Union’s Creative Team Dawn Simon of Swing Graphics, Jessie Temple of Bunkerfish Design and Brie Fagan of Wandering Gypsea they came up with idea of the festival. Their first Makers Fest was at the Beachview Farm in Manahawkin, which drew an estimated 3,000 people.
The group estimated almost double attendance at this year’s fest. Along with all the booths and displays was the Botanical Box Biergarden which split proceeds to Jetty Rock Foundation, a Southern Regional High School Arts Scholarships and the Stafford Historical Society. Makers Mason Jar offered libations from Ship Bottom Brewing, Pinelands Brewing Co, Tuckahoe Brewing Co, Brooklyn Brewery and Shore Point Distributing Co. Goodies were gone by late afternoon from the Food Court which included: The Woo Hoo, Sunny Rae’s Kitchen, Anonymous Pulled Pork, Concave Coffee, Sassafras Hill Farm, The General Store, Passion Flour Cupcakery, The Farmers Raw Bar and Black-Eyed Susans.
Activities included a Makers Potluck Meet and Greet with LBI Fly International, dance improv Bellarine Theatre Co, Yoga Classes with Grow, Dreamlit, Liquid Bliss, Yoga Bohemia, screenwriting with Ink’d by Jetty, live Painting, hands-on Demos, Hammock Garden, Spinal Screenings from Swell Life Chiropractic and other activities.
Bands playing were The River Bones, Sahara Moon with Zinnia Moon, Yes Love, Above the Moon, Matt Rott, Nectar & Ambrosia, Double Negatives and from Puerto Rico and summers in Seaside, The Disfunction.
The LBI Foundation of the Arts and Sciences had a booth set up where ceramics instructor Jeff Ruemeli and other volunteers showed visitors how to make items from clay, including pots on the potter;s wheel. The classes were free and the ceramics were $5 to keep.
Speaking of potters, Sandra Kosinski is practically a fixture at the foundation. She has been creating pottery for 40 years, the last 10 of them full time after retiring from Bell Labs. She said she always loved Pottery and went to art school but didn’t understand how the materials in various clay combined to make successful and unsuccessful pieces, so she went to Penn State and got an engineering degree in ceramics. Decorative Artist Kathy Reinheimer, who also displayed her work at the festival, said she paints on “anything that doesn’t move.” Blond & Blue Boutique was an online store for four years and owner Alexandra Conn showed some of her ideas in a Pop-Up Living Room. Chiropracty may be considered an art by those who swear by its benefits. Free health screening was offered at the fest by Dr Edward Barbieri, a fifth generation chiropractor. .
Stafford Township helped coordinate the event with volunteers, the township’s police and fire departments, shuttle buses. the township’s recreation department, and Public Works. The beautiful weather was somebody else’s effort.
For information about the Makers Fest, or possibly joining the group. Visit online at www.themakersfest.com