It may have only been the first day of fall, but the season was in full swing at the 38th annual Pumpkin Patch Arts and Crafts show at Manhattan’s CiCo Park this weekend. The show featured more than 120 vendors’ handmade crafts, food, decorations and other items.
“There are quite a few new crafts this year. There are more things for little children; bows and headbands, really cute headbands,” said Sandy Messelt, co-chair for the leasing and advertising committee of the craft show. “We also have more florals and more photography this year.”
One such vendor was Robin Moody, of Baby Made Boutique out of Topeka. The Baby Made Boutique booth featured handmade baby accessories, including baby bows and ribbons.
“Last year was our first year at the Pumpkin Patch,” Moody said. “It was really good, so we decided to come back. Overall, it’s been a really good experience.”
Moody heard about the Pumpkin Patch show while at a similar crafts show in Topeka.
“We heard of it from a Scentsy consultant at a show in Topeka,” Moody said. “She mentioned the show and that led it to this.”
Business was a little slow on Friday, Moody said, but she remained hopeful.
“We were slow on Friday last year and we’re kind of slow today,” Moody said. “We were really busy on Saturday last year, so we will hopefully pick up tomorrow.”
Other vendors were selling their handmade jewelry, candles, wood crafts, photography and seasonal decorations, among other things. Fresh pumpkins and other fall produce were also available. When shoppers needed a break, a concession stand offered drinks, snacks and meals.
“Some people just come to eat,” Messelt said. “They don’t even care about the crafts.”
One craft show attendee who did come for the crafts was Courtney Classen, a sophomore in graphic design.
“I like going to craft shows because it is fun to see all the different crafts people come up with, as well as be around fellow crafters and get ideas and inspiration for crafts,” Classen said.
On her Friday afternoon trip, Classen picked up two K-State hair bows for her and her sister to wear to football games, scented candles for her room and a jar of habanera salsa to take home to her dad and brother.
Where the vendors call home was almost as varied as the type of products they sold.
“Some are local, most are from Kansas, Missouri or Nebraska, but they come in from five different states,” Messelt said.
This year, the number of vendors was down slightly and room was left over in several of the buildings. This was due to yearly scheduling conflicts, Messelt said.
“We have to move our dates every year because of K-State football,” Messelt said. “We can’t do the same weekend as a game because all the hotel prices are hiked up and many vendors don’t like that. Also, we are entirely run by volunteers and we wouldn’t have workers if we conflict with a football game.”
This inability to host the show on a consistent weekend every fall causes conflicts with vendors attending other shows and leads to the fluctuating size every year. Messelt said she was not discouraged, however, that the vendor numbers were down. Instead, she was hopeful for the future of the craft show.
“We are seeing a lot more younger people and younger families,” Messelt said. “That’s very encouraging.”