Updated: Nov 18, 2021
MOUND CITY – Organizers of the 2021 Sugar Mound Arts and Crafts Festival knew a couple of things when they decided to proceed with having the festival this year. Particularly after cancelling last year's event because of concerns about the pandemic.
They knew they wanted to host the 50th festival of what was until last year an annual event. They knew by the more than 300 applications turned in by vendors that they wanted the festival this year. What they didn’t know is how many shoppers would show up.
The question was answered emphatically on Saturday as the Linn County Fairgrounds were filled with vehicles and people. And shuttle buses were busy carrying shoppers to and from satellite parking at Jayhawk-Linn High School.
At midday Saturday, festival-goers were shoulder to shoulder near the food concession areas as they stood in long lines for many of the offerings provided there. And even though the organizers had worked to spread out the crafters’ booths, shoppers crowded up in some areas.
Pam George said that she and other members of the festival committee were very pleased with the turnout of shoppers.
So were many of the vendors.
This was the first year for Blue Dog Wine Co., La Cygne, to have a booth in the festival. Being located inside the American Legion building on the fairgrounds was perfect, said Sarah Johnson, co-owner of the winery.
She and a helper offered tasting samples and sacked up purchases almost non-stop.
“We had a great time,” she said. “We had a lot of good feedback”
Johnson said that they served many customers from Missouri as well as local people who didn’t realize there was a winery in Linn County.
Eric Castle of Castle Farms Fresh Meats of rural Pleasanton also reported brisk business on Saturday. Although Castle couldn’t sell fresh meat products at the festival, he offered wrapped jerky for sale as well as informing customers about his on-farm sales and weekly deliveries.
He offered jerky in both large and small sizes, but by noon on Saturday, his supply of small sizes had been depleted.
Bonnie New of Mound City was back to sell her variety of craft items for a 50th time this year. New has sold at each festival since the first one in 1971.
“I just love to do it,” she said. At 92 years old, she wasn’t sure about continuing to sell, but it became a matter of pride for her. “When it got to this point, I thought I should stick it out.”
As for the 51st festival next year, she said she wasn’t sure. But few would be surprised to see her in the Floral building next year, doing what she has done for half a century.