Vendors of homemade goods from across the country gather at Lancaster market

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LANCASTER, Ohio (WOUB) – Twice a year, vendors from around the country converge in an old barn in Lancaster to sell hand-made goods and enjoy some instant community.

Teresa Kalsey, owner of Hammered Designs, made the trek from her home in Illinois for last weekend’s Vintage and Made Market. She last came in 2018 and was looking forward to reconnecting with other people who share her passion.

“Everything is handmade, so that’s a big draw. There’s no Tupperware. It’s all people that have made their craft,” she said. “I think that people want to come and that’s good, to support us little small businesses.”

Jeanne Cherry, owner of Junxtaposition, displays her booth full of vintage jewelry in Lancaster, Ohio.
Jeanne Cherry, owner of Junxtaposition, is a returning vendor of Summer at the Round Barn, and says she enjoys the vibe and customer base in Lancaster.

Summer at the Round Barn, held in a round barn at the Fairfield County Fairgrounds, received hundreds of applications for 133 spaces. It started off much smaller.

The market was launched six years ago by a mother-daughter team. The idea sparked when Caitlin Perdew started helping her mother, Denise Griffith, with her small business when she was 11 years old. The two began traveling to smaller-scale markets, meeting vendors they wished to bring back to their community.

The market has since grown to six events a year, including the summer and fall markets in Lancaster.

“We usually try to get 15 or 20 vendors each market that are brand new because we want them to get into that swing of things,” Perdew said. “We’re trying to encourage businesses to come in and get their name out. We’ve had people from Texas, Arizona, Colorado, North and South Carolina, and we regularly get people from Florida.”

Word of mouth within the vendor community is responsible for much of the growth, Perdew said. The challenge now is deciding who to turn away.

“We hand pick the vendors and have to narrow down quite a bit,” Perdew said. “This year we had about 600 applicants. We have to go through and pick.”

The event also features live music and food trucks. People are drawn not only because of the shopping, but the venue itself and surrounding location.

“I like the feel of the barn market. It’s a cool atmosphere,” Kalsey said.

Jeanne Cherry, the Pennsylvania-based owner of Junxtaposition, said the market is different because it’s not a craft fair, and it’s not an antique fair.

“It’s both. It’s a mix,” she said. “People come for the vibe and for the fun.”

Vendors offer a wide variety of handcrafted products. Perdew said that in order to build a top tier market, they prioritize including a certain number of vendors for each category.

Many of them are able to travel alongside their fellow vendor friends and they migrate from market to market, which is part of the reason Kalsey returned. 

“We realized that you build a community,” Perdew said. “The community you know and you’re friends with is this little subculture. When the whole world collapses, and we get back down to the nitty gritty, it is small businesses that run the world. We want to keep that going and encourage it.”