For years and years, the city of Van Buren’s been welcoming the cooler weather with its annual fall festival. Families headed to downtown Van Buren all weekend for a little shopping and a lot of fun.
“Fall festival has been going on for a lot of years,” said chairman Patricia Howard. “Every year it takes a lot of work on our part. We start preparing for it about three months in advance. Some people work on it all year. The vendors create and create to be able to bring product out here on the street.”
Howard estimates close to 200 vendors, some local and some who traveled in from other states, made it out to this year’s festival.
John Allred, a toymaker who lives in Rudy, said he enjoys coming back year after year, playing with the kids and selling his products in time for the holiday season.
“I’ve been making toys for the last 30 to 35 years,” Allred said. “That’s something I enjoy doing you know. It’s my passion. Make the kids happy. It’s a lot of relaxation for me. When I get home I just like to go in my shop and tinker around.”
Families, finding treasures like homemade bracelets made out of spoons and handcrafted yard signs for every season, shopping locally and putting money back into the economy.
“It’s just so important that our families keep shopping locally,” said Howard. “It’s how this community was founded.”
“All around this area it’s very important you know for these merchants [that you shop locally],” Allred said. “They appreciate the sales around here. Especially around this time of year. It’s their livelihood you know. From now until Christmas, that’s where they make their money.”
Vendors are tearing down their tents and packing up Sunday night (Oct. 13). By Monday morning (Oct. 14) organizers say all roads in downtown Van Buren are expected to be back open.