BUTLER — A beloved fall tradition returns this month. The 2023 Prairie Peddler Festival takes place Sept. 23, 24, 30 and Oct. 1 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. just outside Butler.
The outdoor market nestled in the woods will bring together more than 200 craft vendors selling holiday decorations and home décor in country, farmhouse and primitive styles.
Additional wares include handmade goods like jewelry, candles and foodstuffs.
“We have wine slushie mixes and goat cheese products and all kinds of barbecue sauces,” co-organizer Suzi Skoglund said. “We have hot-chocolate mixes and then the dips.”
Skoglund and her late husband Tom founded Prairie Peddler in Delaware in 1986. A few years later, they purchased land in Butler and moved it there.
“We wanted to create a marketplace for handmade products,” said Skoglund, a retired clay ornament and figurine crafter.
Skoglund said the wares at the festival remain 99-percent hand-made in the United States to this day.
“We’re seeing a resurgence in the interest (in crafting),” Skoglund said. “It’s always been good, but it seems like we’re starting to see younger people getting into it again and making such unique products.”
Skoglund said the festival has become a tradition for families. Many of the children who came 20 years ago are now bringing their own children.
Over four days, the festival averages about 26,000 people.
“Get there early if you can,” Skoglund advised. “Get there at 9:30 a.m.”
A tornado ripped through a section of trees behind the normal festival area last year, so Skoglund decided to expand.
“We have 20-plus new spots we’ve added, so there will be a new section for people to explore,” she said.
In addition to new crafters, there will also be more space for seating behind the food court. More than 30 food vendors will be serving up everything from bean soup and cornbread to chicken and biscuits, French fries, roast beef, wood-fired pizza, pumpkin donuts and a wide array of fair food.
“A lot of times, the men will say ‘I come for the food’ and that’s fine,” Skoglund said.
With four stages, festival goers will also have their pick of live entertainment.
Sept. 23: Mike Gorrell from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Raccoon Hollow Stage), Acoustic Nights at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. (Mohican Meadows Stage), Oolong Gurus all day (food court stage),
Sept. 24: Mike Gorrell from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Raccoon Hollow Stage), 7 Mile Bluegrass at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. (Mohican Meadows Stage), Oolong Gurus all day (food court stage)
Sept. 30: Barefoot McCoy from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Raccoon Hollow Stage), Christian Cloggers Dance Team at 11 a.m. (Mohican Meadows Stage), Acoustic Edge at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. (Mohican Meadows Stage), Oolong Gurus all day (food court stage)
Oct. 1: Barefoot McCoy from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Raccoon Hollow Stage), Lincoln Highway Bluegrass Band at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. (Mohican Meadows stage), Oolong Gurus all day (food court stage)
Magicians Nick Eaton and Jania Taylor will perform at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. each day on the Kidzone stage.
What about kids?
This year’s festival will include numerous kids activities, including a free petting zoo.
Children will also have access to hands on fun at the sand art, soap-making and candle-making stations. Booth 207 will offer pony rides and booth 208 will have horse-drawn wagon rides available.
A kidzone will offer various activities ranging between $4 and $15, including building and painting birdhouses and pirate ships, make-your-own scarecrow kids and face painting. All proceeds from the kidzone will benefit the American Cancer Society.
Before you go
The festival is located at 3170 State Route 97 in Butler. Entry is $10 for adults, $3 for kids age six to 12 and free for children under six.
Parking is free and golf-cart shuttles will be available. The venue will have handicap parking spots.
The paths inside the festival are gravel, so wheelchairs and strollers with wide wheels are recommended.
The festival’s new Facebook page advises visitors to bring cash, since the ticket gates and most food stands are cash only. Cell service may be limited. ATMS will be set up by gates 1 and 3.
Pets are not permitted, with the exception of service dogs.
Prairie Peddler will take place rain or shine.
Scooters and wagons will be available for rent.
For more information, visit www.shopthepeddler.com.