It’s Sunday night and I’m standing in the road to take a picture of the Bluffton Hospital Auxiliary Silent Art Auction at CVS Pharmacy. No problem. The two lights in downtown Bluffton are stopping only the occasional car. On Friday, when new orange barrels narrowed I-75 to a single lane and drivers DIY’d a detour down Main Street, I’d have created a traffic jam.
But, on May 12, don’t expect to drive straight through town. Main Street from Elm to Franklin will be open to people only for the 47th annual Bluffton Arts & Crafts Festival. Or maybe I should say open to people, llamas, and ponies.
A Family Affair
Bluffton businesses are making room from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for some 60 vendors and a bunch of free family activities. A festival favorite is the head-turning llama display by Hard Rock Llama Co. of Ada. Hickle Ponies of Mt. Blanchard is our pony ride provider; Bluffton Hospital is making the rides free. On the lawn of Bluffton Presbyterian Church, a flock of volunteers will coordinate mini golf on a course donated by M&R Plumbing and Heating. New to the festival is a craft and animal activities van from Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District.
The festival feeling will be amped up by three different musical acts. A string quartet from the Lima Symphony Orchestra will strike up at 10 a.m.; “Old Folkies” Doug Adams and Charlie Saylor will start strumming at 11:30 a.m.; and the Harnish-Yoder trio will provide a jazz background beginning at 1 p.m.
A Gift for Mom or Yourself
This might be a good time to mention that this is the day before Mother’s Day. So if Mom likes to pick out her own present or maybe you almost forgot the date, this is your chance to get her something more exciting than a new toaster oven or more unexpected than another pair earrings (this is a big hint to the Scott family). Vendors are bringing handmade items that range from skin care products to macrame to fine art.
Whether you need to keep the family happy or fuel yourself for shopping, there will be plenty of tasty snacks and meal options. In addition to the 14 food shops and restaurants on or near Main, there will be food trucks, festival food booths, and a hot dog bar at the Bluffton Senior Citizen Center.
And there are other reasons you might find yourself in Bluffton on May 12. It will be the second week of the Bluffton Farmers Market. The Friends of the Bluffton Public Library are holding their spring book sale. Bluffton University will be hosting the Ohio Special Olympics Area 3 track meet and Ohio Judo Championships. And it will be the last day of the Bluffton Hospital Auxiliary Silent Art Auction.
The festival is a program of the Bluffton Area Chamber of Commerce, so I’ll be there working with outgoing vendor manager Jerry Burkholder and incoming manager Lauren Canaday. Jerry has been part of the Bluffton Arts & Crafts festival for its entire 47-year history and this year he’s teaching Lauren and me the ropes. It’s a tradition that we’re excited to continue.
Ready to make the detour to see Bluffton transformed by arts and crafts? The village is located between Findlay and Lima, just 3 minutes from I-75 at exits 140 and 142. for more information about the festival, visit ExploreBluffton.com.