Yankee Peddler Festival returns to Clay’s Park for 49th event

LAWRENCE TWP. – The Yankee Peddler Festival returns to Clay’s Park Jellystone Resort this weekend.

Now in its 49th year, the annual festival features more than 200 artisans and protesters over three weekends. They offer handmade items forged the same way pioneers did 200 years ago. Guests can also sample dishes ranging from apple fritters to turkey legs cooked over open fires.

“This is a juried show and we only get the best people (to offer their wares),” said Frank Cajka, vice president of the Yankee Peddler Association.

The festival runs from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and September 17-18 and 24-25.

Yankee peddler:48th Annual Festival Returns to Clay’s Park

Yankee Peddler takes guests back to a time when craftsmanship was the only way of life

Yankee Peddler recreates pioneering America in the shady woods of Clay’s Park.

The festival gives attendees the chance to immerse themselves in a time when craftsmanship was a way of life between the years 1776 and 1825.

All artisans and vendors are required to wear appropriate attire at all times. They must also demonstrate their craft at least 50% of the time. Artisans and craftsmen educate customers about their craftsmanship.

Festival-goers can spot covered wagons, Mountain Men, Native Americans, and blacksmiths, as well as take advantage of offerings from food vendors.

The festival has grown since its inception in 1972, attracting thousands of guests every weekend.

“Last year was interesting. We didn’t know what to expect,” Cajka said.

They saw some longtime vendors pull out of the event for a number of reasons, including retirement, illness or fear of the virus, he said.

Yankee peddler:Festival cancelled, would have been 48th year

“Some of these people are back this year and will be back next year. Others we may never see again,” Cajka added.

Due to regulations imposed by the Stark County Health Department, the festival layout had to be reconfigured. They reduced the number of doors and moved some vendors.

“Believe it or not, this was one of the most successful years in terms of sales for vendors in the festival’s history,” Cajka said. “Some people who have been with us for 40 years or more said it was their best year. It was a statement of real rebound from what happened in 2020.”

The changes don’t seem to have any impact on visitors. Cajka said he still receives complaints, but last year none about the changes.

Guests, he said, appreciated not having to walk so far, so the more compact layout and two doors will continue this year.

Cajka admitted that the festival and the participants are facing new problems with inflation and recession.

“We’ll have to see how it goes. Last year nobody knew what to expect and it’s the same this year,” he said.

Ticket prices remain the same.

The Yankee Peddler Festival returns this weekend to Clay's Park Jellystone Resort in Lawrence Township and runs for three weekends.  It has over 200 vendors and demonstrators.

Something for Everyone at Yankee Peddler

Along with artisans, guests will encounter town criers, wandering magicians, marionette and puppet shows, and a Civil War encampment.

Guests can visit the Butterfly Lookout and learn about the spinning and weaving process from the Algonquin Spinning and Weaving Guild.

Children and adults can enjoy pony rides, a small zoo and other entertainment.

Cajka said exciting entertainment is planned for this year’s event, including Jeff Pilkinton, a chalk artist from Indiana. During the second weekend, which is also the children’s weekend, he will create a 10 foot by 20 foot 3D chalk drawing.

“You stand in one spot and see a 3D figure pop out of the drawing,” he said. “It’s really remarkable.”

A new band ― Celtic Sisters ― will perform on the main stage during the third weekend. Performers are no strangers to the festival, Cajka said. As children, they performed at the event with their families.

“They are accomplished singers, dancers and violinists,” he added.

East Coast bluegrass band The Plate Scrapers are back by popular demand. This week, baritone Steve Madewell will entertain the crowds.

Participants will not leave hungry. A variety of dishes are offered, including barbecue, beef stew, Ruben and sausage sandwiches, corn on the cob, turkey legs, fish and chips and soups, including the return of soup with Crowd favorite beans.

“It’s a big deal,” Cajka said of the Soup’s return. “We haven’t had one for three years when the Lions Club left. We have a few women who have started a soup franchise and they are doing a very good job and they will be providing lots of soups including the bean soup. “

The 49th annual Yankee Peddler Festival opens at 10:30 a.m. Saturday and runs every weekend through Sept. 25 at Clay's Park Jellystone Resort in Lawrence Township.

For those looking for a more modern approach to craftsmanship, the festival also features craftsmen and artisans of today in the Yankee Peddler Today area.

“We’re always adding new stuff and we’re really excited about our new artists. Let’s just hope the four-letter word stays away,” Cajka said, alluding to the rain.

The festival highlights the region

Lawrence Township Administrator Mike Stevens has watched the crowds flow in and out of his township throughout the festival’s nearly 50 years.

During this time, local organizations, churches and Pathfinders were able to participate and raise funds through their food and drink sales.

“It’s a plus for the exposure of our community,” he said. “It’s a health benefit event for the area and as a former employee of Clay’s Park, I know it helped promote the facility to a different audience that it attracts with its swimming activities. and camping.”

Assisting with parking, Stevens saw travelers from all over Ohio and surrounding states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, New York, and West Virginia.

“We welcome the impact and the influx,” Stevens said. “It’s our opportunity to show our community. It’s been nothing but positive for our community.”

Contact Amy at 330-775-1135 or [email protected]

On Twitter: @aknappINDE

If you are going to

What: Yankee Peddler Festival

Where: Clay’s Park Jellystone Resort, 13190 Patterson Street NW, Lawrence Township

When: 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. 10-11, 17-18 and 24-25 Sept.

Cost: Tickets are $10 for adults; $9 for seniors; $3 for children 6 to 11 years old; and free for children 5 and under.

More details: www.yankeepeddlerfestival.com