It’s that time of year again! There is a chill in the air, the leaves on the trees are beginning to turn and pumpkins are everywhere. Since my sister and I can remember, this time of year is exceptionally exciting because it reminds us that the Sugar Mound Arts and Crafts Festival is just around the corner. Our parents hosted a booth at this show in 1983, and it has been a time-honored tradition in our family ever since! What is so special about this craft show? It might have something to do with the quaint little town of Mound City, Kansas. It is located just off the beaten path, tucked into a few hills of maple trees (which are just beginning to turn red), down a windy path and teeming with character. We can remember feeling pretty privileged to be the only kids in our classes who got to skip school one day in October to drive north for this show. When my sister and I were young, my parents owned a two-wheel RV camper – brand name Lil’ Hobo – and we pulled the little guy up to Mound City and stayed at the show for two nights. It was an annual escape to a magical place for both of us.
Mound City Craft Show has been through many facelifts over the past 30 years. When we were very small, the show was still held in two enormous circus tents. We usually had a booth in Tent II (I can remember thinking it was pretty awesome that they used Roman Numerals). The photo above is of my sister and I playing between the tents. Every year developed different little family traditions surrounding the event. We HAD to have walking tacos made by the Centerville Church, we walked through every booth at least twice, and we had a lot of fun people watching. My sister and I regarded the draped tables in our booth as tents and would sit very quietly and listen to what people were remarking about the different items we had on display. It turned out to be a great tool in deciding whether items were priced too high, were too heavy or hard to handle or too big to carry back to their car. Years after the tents came down, the crafters were moved to the various barns throughout the fairgrounds. We have been located in the southeast corner booth of the Trail’s End Barn ever since!
I think the most memorable aspect of the Mound City Craft Show is that it is exactly the same atmosphere as it has always been. The show directors work diligently to be sure all crafters are displaying only handmade goods. Whether it’s your first or fiftieth trip, you’re sure to feel welcomed, warm and fuzzy on the inside, and excited to see truly unique creations.
(Yes, that’s a fanny pack. It was the 90’s!)