Annual Labor Day Arts and Crafts Show celebrates 50 years

BIG RAPIDS — Hemlock Park was packed with people browsing artisan vendors, nonprofit booths and participating in other activities during the annual Labor Day Arts and Crafts Show — a favorite Labor Day tradition in the Big Rapids area for the past 50 years.

Families enjoyed a relaxing day of shopping, food and fun. (Pioneer photo/Shanna Avery)

“We’ve had perfect weather. We were expecting rain,” said Jennifer Heinzman, executive director of Mecosta County Area Chamber of Commerce. “People have been coming in droves all day and it has not slowed down. This is the 50th anniversary of the event and the community looks forward to this every Labor Day. I like to begin my Christmas shopping during the event, because there are such unique items.”

Shoppers check out a booth selling hats. (Pioneer photo/Shanna Avery)

Some of the hand-crafted items available were jewelry, clothes, hats, homemade soaps and lotions, stained and blown glass, paintings and other items. Other vendors sold treats such as jams, homemade jerky and baked goods. Festival fun included numerous food vendors and live music.

Visitors enjoyed live music. (Pioneer photo/Shanna Avery)

A new feature, the Mecosta County Children’s Business Fair, gave youth ages 6 to 16 an opportunity to sell items and learn how to run a business.

Members of Girl Scout Troops 4354 and 4268 sold baked goods to help fund a trip.

Girl Scout Troops 4354 and 4268 sold baked goods to raise money for a trip to Frankenmuth. (Pioneer photo/Shanna Avery)

“The sale is going well,” said Girl Scout Markeith Bunkercass. “We are raising money for a trip to Frankenmuth this year.”

Boy Scout Troop No. 123 sold popcorn.

“We are raising money for camping, kayaking and lots of other things. We fund our way for everything we do,” said Boy Scout Mason Alexander.

Kate McGlynn, a clown, was on hand to provide entertainment for children.

Kate McGlynn made balloon animals for children. (Pioneer photo/Shanna Avery)

“I decided to come and make animal balloons, bring music, perform juggling and provide lots of fun things for kids,” she said.

Local author Juli Sisung and her sister, Jackie Downey, who was selling shared crochet goods, shared a tent.

“This is my fourth year selling books here,” said Sisung, who writes local historical fiction. “Everything is going really well. It is nice my sister and I can both take part in this event.”

Author Juli Sisung, left, and her sister, Jackie Downey, right, sold books and crochet goods. (Pioneer photo/Shanna Avery)

After people checked out the arts and craft show, many of them walked over to the Labor Day Car Show at Mitchell Creek Park.

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