LISBON - Though more of the sunshine and warmth of Saturday would have been preferred by most, cooler temperatures and intermittent drizzle didn't stop crowds from converging upon Pioneer Village in Beaver Creek State Park for the second day of Pioneer Craft Days, presented by Friends of Beaver Creek State Park, on Sunday.
Greg and Mariann Leopold came down from Lordstown for the day, with their dogs Cora and Natty, on leashes, leading the way. Greg said they decided to make the trip after seeing the craft fair advertised in a local paper. Though it was their first time to the park, Greg enthusiastically said it would not be their last. "It's great," he said, "a really beautiful piece of property."
Among the many vendors were Bill and Rosie Chludzinski of Rogers, also making their first trip to the event. Their unique handiwork features Rosie's paintings of colonial and country scenes framed by Bill in old wooden window panes, creating the effect of seeing the work as through a farmhouse window. "We work hard together," she chuckled. "It's a good thing we get along." She also paints on metal sap buckets, tart tins and wood, but said the increasing scarcity of the buckets led her to try something new.
Kim Patterson and George Hvizdak played traditional folk and old-time music on the front porch of the Williams House in Pioneer Village at Beaver Creek State Park for the 35th annual Pioneer Craft Days. (Photo by Richard Sberna)
Despite being newcomers, Rosie said that she and Bill were made to feel welcome. She also found the natural surroundings and relaxed atmosphere pleasant, and the customers very receptive. "We'll be back," she said.
All the new faces were good news for Alice Whitehill, a volunteer with the Friends of Beaver Creek State Park. "This has been a really good weekend," she said. Though she hopes for a return to what she recalls as the event's glory years in the 1980s, Whitehill believes that this year's strong turnout bodes well for the future. "It's doing well," she said. "We hope that it grows."
According to Whitehill, 2012 marks the 35th anniversary of Pioneer Craft Days, which began shortly after the village was completed in the mid-1970s. She explained that, except for Gaston Mill and the Williams House and barn, all of the structures on the property were either transported there or constructed on the grounds using logs from original log buildings formerly found in Columbiana County.
Whitehill said the two-day event now serves as the organization's chief fundraiser each year. Proceeds from the rental of space to vendors and craftspeople go toward repairs for the historic buildings and upkeep of the grounds, which are owned by the state of Ohio but the Friends are responsible for maintaining.