Over the weekend, women from as far as Wichita flocked to the Marion County Ladies Fair at Marion County Park and Lake Hall to shop, dine, and chat.
“This is the fifth year we’ve had it, and the vendors that display are at home businesses,” economic development director Teresa Huffman said. “Independent distributors and those types. Ones that people don’t normally promote.”
Just under 100 attended this year’s fair, which offered door prizes, massages, and a variety of booths. Huffman said the weather may have been what caused the smaller outcome.
“If it had been snowing or raining, we would have had 200,” Huffman said. “But the nicer the weather, the smaller the crowd.”
While it helps bring people to the county, Huffman said the event’s main goal is not to bring businesses to the county.
“This isn’t really to bring business here,” Huffman said. “This is to help them promote the businesses that are already here.”
Huffman said the event is unique in that vendors do not have to pay for a booth space.
“Usually they have to pay $45 or more for a booth, so this is a great advantage for them to promote their business locally,” Huffman said. “I think that’s why it’s grown.”
Last year’s fair was the first year the entire event promoted businesses from Marion County.
“I think I have one business this year that’s located outside the county,” Huffman said, “but otherwise it’s little at-home businesses.”
New vendors at this year’s fair included clothing, a new massage therapist, and food provided by CB Bakery.
Some vendors have kept coming back, including Pink Zebra, a company that sells a variety of items from jewelry to candles and candle holders.
Pink Zebra consultant Julie Janzen said she keeps coming back to the Ladies Fair because of the amount of fun she has each year.
“It’s nice to get to see a bunch of your friends you don’t normally get to see,” Julie Janzen said. “It’s just a good day away from the house.”