SACANDAGA PARK — Sean Kilmer was sitting at the table with his family last Tuesday when an idea struck him they should host a craft show on their property next weekend — Memorial Day weekend.
He, his partner Lana Panchenko and his mother and stepfather, Vicki and John Beck, travel to six shows within a 50-mile radius in the summer. Why not host their own show on their 16-acre property in Sacandaga Park, just up Houseman Street from the Northampton Beach campsite, instead? And so, in four days, the Saturday-Monday event was ready to go, and now it will happen every other weekend until Labor Day. Talks of a car show are even underway for later this summer, the family said.
The family itself has four tables at exhibits selling t-shirts with various phrases and designs, laser-engraved plaques and signs, jewelry, bags of corn, suncatchers, and gear. Kilmer’s 3D printing business, MakerTree 3D, which he runs from home. Places will be free for vendors this summer. From next year there will be a small fee to ensure that everyone who says they are coming actually does.
“It’s just too much money to pay to have multiple stalls, so for us it made sense, with all these rising costs. [that] inflation brings to everyone,” Kilmer said. “And although many sites are interested in this cost, we want to go the other way. Instead of just making it cheap, we want to offer it for free, at least for the whole year.
In Kilmer’s vision, much will be included. Fourteen of the 16 acres, on which Kilmer grew up, are set up well enough to host events. The half of the property where the first show took place is actually where there will be grass parking for at least 100 visitor cars in long-term plans. On the other side of a line of trees is a large shaded area allowing about 70 vendors to set up on either side of the paths where visitors will meander. A long-term hope is that each vendor’s space will allow them to not only park their cars, but even choose to camp there for the weekend.
There’s already a grassy area in the proposed vendor section where Kilmer sees food vendors set up in a kind of food court. In addition, a road around this area will serve as an access route for personnel, service and emergency vehicles. The property boasts good cell service for the area, allowing vendors to continue to transact electronically, a growing component of the craft show industry. They also have port-a-potties that will be spaced throughout the area. Minimal cost to vendors and visitors and ease of charging for the city and passers-by are important to Kilmer, he said.
The first show had three or four other vendors set up and a number of others stopping by to learn more, tour the property and hear Kilmer’s shots. Jen Kuhn of Mayfield, owner of Y-Not Dog Cookies, which makes all-natural, homemade dog treats, was one of the sellers who set up shop, and she fielded questions from other interested sellers who came along. are stopped on their own.
She said she was booked for shows throughout the fall and attended 40 or more shows. She said she was going to try to save room in her schedule for this new show because she liked what Kilmer had put together and wanted to do for the community.
“He gave us a guided tour there. He had music, he had food, he had takeout, he had trash. [He’s] beyond accommodation,” Kuhn said. “I just feel like they don’t have an angle. There is no corner. They only talk about their community.
Kilmer is chasing his mother’s dream, according to Vicki Beck, who makes the jewelry, corn bags and suncatchers. She was once known for running the troll house from the family home where she sold trolls and gnomes made by Danish immigrants Ken and Neta Arensbak of 5 Art Studio in Tennessee. She also taught ceramics and practiced sewing, painting and crocheting.
“It’s about supporting each other, and suppliers support each other,” said Vicki Beck. “The world is such an ugly place right now, so it’s a haven. It is. It’s my sanctuary and I love it. I love sharing it with people because I’m really proud of it.