Otsego Creative Arts Fest has new Kids Makers Market

Ryan Lewis, Editor

This year’s Otsego Creative Arts Festival will have an event that unleashes children’s creative and entrepreneurial spirit.

The Kids Maker Market will showcase youth ages 7 to 17 who are selling art, crafts, and everything in between, all of their own creation.

The 32nd annual festival is Saturday, Sept. 28, with an entire day’s worth of activities—including the classic car show, tractor show, First Baptist Church’s Friendship Festival, the new Art Challenge, and a parade—between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The Kids Makers Market runs 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with a break to watch the parade at 1 p.m. It will be located between United Methodist Church and Winkel Funeral Home.

Chad Pillars said the market was inspired by a few other festivals he and his family had visited over the years—and his daughter’s notion to earn some money.

10-year-old Audrey told her father that even if she could figure out what to sell, she still wouldn’t even know where to sell it.

“So, we took what we had seen at a bigger organization in Texas and another, smaller event at a music festival and made it fit for our local area,” Chad Pillars said. “Then it changed from ‘what do I sell’ to ‘let’s make a market for people to do this.’”

The Plainwell family organized the first market at DesignStreet. That one saw 31 children, some working together, gather at that space in downtown Plainwell and sell a variety of items. They’ve done several more since; this will be their fifth of the year. Around two dozen booths are planned for this weekend’s Kids Makers Market.

He said he and his wife Tori were “trying to get kids thinking about business and what it takes to run a business from start to finish.

“It’s a fun event, and we’ve got a lot of local sponsors. We’ve even been able to buy a big group of kids’ books about money—making it, saving it, investing it.”

Participants do pay a fee to set up a table, but a T-shirt is included in that cost.

He said he’s seen all types of items for sale, from art to jewelry, to clay dragon sculptures to garden-grown herbs and spices to holiday wreaths.

“I love seeing all the kids having a good time,” he said. “It’s fun to see how creative they get. Not even just what they sell but even how they sell it, package it. They’re really thinking it through.”


Art Challenge

Don’t forget that the festival’s new Art Challenge officially begins at the kickoff party Thursday, Sept. 26, from 5 to 7 p.m., at downtown businesses, when the artists will be on hand to chat with the public.

Voting begins on Friday, Sept. 27, from noon to 4 p.m. and again the morning of the festival, from 9 a.m. to noon. Check the chamber Facebook page for instructions on how to vote. The winner will be announced at 3 p.m. that afternoon.

Visit www.allegannews.com for a full schedule of events.

Contact Ryan Lewis at rmlewis@allegannews.com or (269) 673-5534.


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