Sunday, September 16, 2012

Backwoods Home Festival and Country Living Fair

 What a nice surprise to see my friend Connie after 10 years.  She contacted me and wanted to visit, but didn't want to just sit around and chat, so we planned to visit The Backwoods Home Festival in Thornville, Ohio, on Friday and The Country Living Fair on Saturday.

The big weekend arrived, and we set out for the Backwoods Festival on Friday morning.  We planned to arrive when the gate opened at 10am.  Connie's friend Sue has an awesome gourd booth at the festival and warned us about the traffic coming in.  She was right....turned out that cars were backed up 3 miles out from the entry to the festival.  It took us an extra half hour to maneuver through the extra traffic and then we had to stand in a long line to get tickets.  But we were enjoying each others company and the time passed quickly.  People were exiting the festival as we were standing in line to get in.  Rumor has it that you can obtain tickets before the show.

Backwood's Home Festival, the long line to get in

We cruised through half of the vendor's booths, ate a BBQ sandwich for lunch, because it was the shortest line, and headed out to see the other half of the vendors.  For dessert, I wanted to have an apple dumpling or cream puff but we were too full from taste testing mix dips at several vendor booths along the trails.   

At the Backwood's Festival you can expect to find all kinds of craft items and folk art in booths built along a path in the woods.  Several booths were selling dip mixes, herbal and natural cosmetic products and pet collars.  Lots and lots of primitive decor items were available, which was a prevailing theme of the festival along with anything with OSU, ravens or crows on it, and silhouette's.  The trail's are a bit difficult to maneuver with the large stones on them and would be very hard to push a normal stroller.  Apparently last year the paths were lined with straw which was easier on the feet.  

There were many "street" musicians lining the paths, in the food court, and also performing by an informal seating area of straw bales.

Musicians at the Backwoods Home Festival

 My friend Connie had to wear a pedometer for work and we were really disappointed when we looked at our total steps taken at the end of the day, about 3000.  Surely something was not right with that meter, because we felt like we had walked at least 3 miles.

Saturday we headed north to The Ohio Historical Society, Ohio Village in Columbus, Ohio, for the Country Living Fair.  Despite the huge construction project on 71 we were able to make it into the fair with light to medium traffic at 9:30am, a little before the opening time of 10am.  While at the fair, I heard some tales of people screaming at each other while trying to merge on 270 and 71 on the north end of town.  I cringed a little on the way into Columbus on 71N when I read a sign that they were using the same exit for the OSU game and the Country Living Fair.  Trying to get back on 71S after the fair was excruciating, so I ditched the idea entirely after being detoured around 670 only to have the 71S entrance ramp closed, and headed south on Summit to hit 70 with little problem.  

We ordered our tickets online for the Country Living Fair, but not early enough to have them delivered through the mail so we had to pick them up at will call.  The ticket lines were not long, but we saved a few bucks by ordering online.  The actual line to get into the fair before the gates opened was quite long, but moved quickly once the gates were opened.  The edge of the road that we were instructed to line up on was in severe need of repair and one elderly lady tripped and fell, but thankfully was ok.

Country Living Fair, waiting to get in

Once in the fair I headed over to the Rustoleum booth, because they were offering a free gift to anyone that brought a picture of a project they worked on using their product.  My son just finished painting his car with Rustoleum, so I picked up a free tote for him.  He is at college, so when I told him what his gift was, he said I could have it...score!  haha, I am going to paint kitchen cabinets with the new Rustoleum cabinet kit, so this booth was very informative for me.

Next we wandered around the different vendor booths until we met up with one of Connie's friends, Marianne.  The price points were alot higher at this show, but the goods being sold were more artisan.  For example, hooked rugs, paintings, jewelry, photography and antiques.  Also common were re-purposed items from several artists.  For example, making jewelry from items such as silverware, gears, fabric, paper or antique optician glass.  Making new furniture from old furniture, like benches made from wood beds.  Old windows and doors were also a common theme.  Anything vintage like lace, tablecloths, chandeliers were given new uses and being sold.  A few booths were selling felted items and/or items made from old sweaters.  Some primitive items were also available to purchase.  Artists and author's were available to sign their items.  This show also had it's share of food mixes and natural cosmetics.

Old flower paraphernalia, lol, because my post has to have something flower related, right?

Food lines at the Country Living Fair were unusually long and at least a 20min wait at each.  We opted for a baked potato and after we waited our 20min, we were informed they were out of potatoes and it would be just a few minutes for more potatoes to arrive.  So we waited, and waited.....and waited.  Finally my new friend Marianne (Connie's friend from Toledo) decided to wait in the long food line for the booth next to us.  Marianne said, "See who get's waited on first".  Well, she did, lol!  But I abandoned my post at the potato counter and gave her my money and Connie's money for food, at this point, we didn't care what it was.  We were finishing up our taco salad just as the potato line got moving.

We did not see any live musicians, except for one lady singer that wasn't very good.  There might have been scheduled shows, but we were too busy with the vendor's booth's to take in any shows.

Overall, it was a fun weekend.  For sheer entertainment I preferred the Backwood's Home Festival because of the friendliness, the abundance of country musicians performing, and a better, more accessible food court.  If you are looking for antiques or unique items, I would suggest the Country Living Fair.  Both shows seemed to have their share of people buying stuff .  Better yet, make a weekend of it and go to both shows.

Backwood's Home Festival, parking is free, tickets are $8 ea
Country Living Fair, parking is $5 and tickets are $13ea before the fair, or $16ea day of

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