By Carrie Steinweg
LANSING, Ill. (September 12, 2021) – It’s been a long time since the historic Ford Hangar was filled with people. The pandemic put a halt to large gatherings in Illinois, and Fetching Market’s Signature Market at the Hangar had to be canceled in 2020. Friday and Saturday it returned for two days of shopping, entertainment, creative workshops, and gourmet food and beverages.
Last year’s shutdowns were particularly hard on those who work in managing and coordinating events as well as artisans who depend on such events as an outlet to sell their work.
“The pandemic has wreaked havoc for me as a market promoter and on the vendors,” said Pam Dennis, founder of Fetching Market. “It’s been really hard on the vendors. It forced them to create online stores and re-invent themselves, which isn’t a bad thing, except not everyone was ready for that. They’re glad to be out here again.”
Vendors were happy to return and see customers in person. Booths lined the perimeter of the building, and several rows of tables filled the interior space with artisans selling everything from seasonal decorations to jewelry to clothing to gourmet food items.
“I’ve been juggling vendors, locations, and ticket sales for the past year. We’ve had to shuffle, move things around, transfer vendors to other events, and get creative with supporting small business and put up over 100 artisans on our website with links to sell,” Dennis said.
Earthy Budda at Fetching Market
Brittany James of Crown Point, IN, spent the weekend as a vendor for her third Fetching Market event, her first at the Lansing Municipal Airport’s historic hangar. She started her business, Earthy Budda, in 2018 after serving in the military. It was last summer — not long into the pandemic — that she got involved in selling at local markets. Prior to that she sold her handcrafted jewelry online.
“The markets have been really good,” said James. “Since COVID, a lot of people want to buy local and handmade products. Ever since our world kind of shifted, people have been drawn to smaller businesses to support, which has been exciting and inspiring as an artist.”
James said she has received a lot of positive feedback on her work creating natural stone jewelry: “That sparks creativity and makes you want to participate in even more events.” She also markets her products on social media and Instagram and her website, earthybuddha.com.
A believer in shopping small and local herself, James buys her stones from local sellers. “I have friends I’ve met through the markets that I buy my stones from,” she said. “I’m honored to be part of this market and happy to be associated with Fetching Market. I hope everyone does well. We’re like a family here, and we all just want to promote and support each other.”
Tinker Town offers recycled robots
Returning for her eighth Fetching Market and fifth market at the Ford Hangar, Pam Biesen proudly displayed her handmade items that are made from recycled materials, mostly robot figures.
“I love this market. This is my style,” she said. “My theme comes from teaching children to make art out of discarded items. I stumbled upon making robots, and they’re trendy. About 50% of what I make is from found objects.”
Biesen finds pleasure in the reactions of kids when they complete their own creations. She has taught park district classes, worked with special needs children, and done workshops for scouting groups.
“I teach children if you find something on the ground, you can probably make something cool out of it,” she explained. “I did this to show kids what they can make.” Biesen’s business, Tinker Town USA, is on Facebook.
Patti Foster was in her element and at the Ford Hangar as a returning vendor with Elite Sweets. Her table was full of sweet treats, including a seasonal favorite — gourmet caramel apples.
“I’m still doing really well at the markets,” she said. “If you engage people, you can sell.” See Elite Sweets on Facebook to view Foster’s products.
Customers were also excited for the chance to shop in person again among the wide array of creators. “There’s nothing else like Fetching Market,” said Dennis. “We draw upscale artisans from across the country and showcase their wares in this unique venue. It’s an honor and a privilege to be able to do so in this incredible location.”
Gourmet goddess Katie Sannito
Serving food at the event was Katie Sannito, also known as the Gourmet Goddess. Sannito offers upscale catering and leads gourmet workshops. She and Dennis have been friends for years, and the Gourmet Goddess has been a food vendor at past markets and produced hands-on demonstrations at Dennis’ markets. She has also catered the Found and Shared workshops for women that Dennis has been hosting since 2015. In recent months, as the event and market landscape was still in limbo, the duo decided to jump in and collaborate on a project they’ve been discussing for a long time.
“She knows I like to curate events, and we had talked about doing a special dinner, so we just decided to go for it. I am the gatherer and she is the goddess,” said Dennis. They launched ticket sales for the three dinner dates on a Tuesday; by Wednesday night all three dates were sold out. Two have taken place already, with the final dinner for this year to be held later this month. They already have plans in the works for next year.
“We’re having a great time working together,” said Dennis. “I do the all the tablescapes and settings, create atmosphere, and she creates all the delish food. It’s a five-course meal with wine pairings.” Information on the pop-up dinner series can be found at fetchingmarket.com.
The historic Ford Hangar is located at 19507-19539 Burnham Avenue in Lansing.
- Fetching Market returns to Ford Hangar in May (April 8, 2018)
- Ford Hangar freed to serve as event venue, museum (October 25, 2020)