Wednesday, September 24, 2008


The Country Living Fair held at Ohio Village in Columbus, Ohio was memorable for many reasons. Ohio Village was a beautiful setting. My friend Deanna and I felt as if we were walking down Main Street of long ago. According to its website, "Ohio Village is designed to recreate the appearance of a typical county-seat town in Ohio during the mid 19th century, about the time of the Civil War".
Fall displays and vendor booths were set up all around the old homes and shops and we hardly knew where to begin. The wind was whipping around us and we felt a sense of urgency in viewing the handmade wares. We heard banging, clanging, and whooshing all around us – signs that vendor tents were being battered by the wind. Some tents came crashing down and when they did, we’d hear a collective “ohhhh” and cries of “help him, help her”. It was very unsettling for us, so I can imagine how frustrating it was for the vendors who lost tents and/or merchandise.
As we walked around the fair we saw many vendors packing up and getting ready to leave. Though we were disappointed, we understood their reasons. Deanna said she hoped the out-of-state people didn’t think this was typical Ohio weather. The wind was brutal and unforgiving and it was as hot as it was windy. We decided to step up the pace and see as many vendors as we could before the wind chased away everyone.
Deanna was interested in an artist from Country Threads who offered woven (or twined) rugs for sale. She was invited to sit and weave a bit and was totally unaware that a small crowd gathered had around her as she took a quick refresher course in the over-under-twining technique. We moved down Main Street to a vendor offering vintage cupboards and kitchen items, then on to the huge tent that covered the David T. Smith Workshops. He had some wonderful pottery and furniture.
We were interested in the textiles, but by the time we found them, the Country Living staff was closing down the fair. We hurried past vendors who had aprons, dolls, bears, rabbits, and other vintage-looking handmade items, and on to booths with Halloween and Christmas decorations. I don’t think we saw everything, but we saw enough to pique our interest for next year.
Deanna and I were pleasantly surprised when the Country Living staff issued full refunds since they closed the fair early. We thought that was a gracious gesture and it lessened the disappointment of not being able to see all the vendor booths. We can only hope for milder weather next year.
(Vendors gave permission for their booths to be photographed.)

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