Elkton Makers Market to feature local talent

Organizers are hoping a new event in Elkton will turn the Brookings County community into a hub of creativity for artisans and their customers.

The Elkton Makers Market next Saturday will offer a variety of items for sale with plans to kick off a monthly event, said organizer NieeMa Thasing.

The Makers Market will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 22 at the Community Center at 109 Elk St. A total of 22 vendors will offer items from live garden plants to clothing and jewelry.

Thasing’s foster sons, Danial and Luigi, will man a food booth, serving walking tacos and hot dogs, but Thasing encourages visitors to get creative with the vendors’ wares, including Janine Garcia Moberg’s baked goods and Betty Pearson’s honey butter.

“Maybe somebody will go over to Betty’s and get the honey butter and put it on Janine’s baked goods,” Thasing said.

Other options are homemade barbecue sauce and jalapeno sauce.

Non-edible items include handmade leather bracelets, gemstones, and Italian sterling silver necklaces, rings, headbands, key chains, and magnetic bracelets. There will be clothing for people and dolls, aprons, socks and scarves, alpaca yarn and fleece. Home products include essential oils, singing bowls, pottery, cleaning supplies, horseshoe crosses, and flower baskets, just to name a few.

Jamie Cuka will have a make-and-take session, and Deb Yober will offer massages.

Thasing promised some musical entertainment, “but it’s a surprise,” she said.

What she would reveal is there will be door prizes from various businesses.

Seed of an idea

Thasing knew that Dave Huebner had helped set up the first Brookings Summer Arts Festival back in 1972. More recently, he and neighbor Anisah David teamed up to create a venue for the South Dakota Makers Network in Bushnell. Thasing saw what Huebner and David were doing over in Bushnell with the things they made and asked them for pointers.

“Between he and Anisah, I just knew it could be done,” she said.

An artist herself, Thasing works with gemstones to make magnetic bracelets, carved angels and pendants, and potted trees made out of wire with the stones for “leaves.”

She knew from personal experience it was difficult to haul her wares from one location to another, where expenses could often outweigh profits. Selling online meant online payment and shipping expenses, which added up since the trees are heavy. She knew there were other artisans and cottage industries in the area that were in the same position and would appreciate having a nearby location.

“We went to one (show) in February … We did really kind of good. …. There were people coming 150 miles and they did not sell a thing, they did not break even. I just said, ‘This is crazy.’ So I’m not the only one in that boat,” Thasing said.

“I went to the city council and got permission, so venue No. 2 of the South Dakota Makers Network is Elkton,” Thasing said.

This first Makers Market has a dual purpose.

“This grand opening is for the space. It’s for the makers, but it’s more for everybody to know how wonderful the space is,” Thasing said of the Community Center, which has been utilized only a few times a year. She wants to inspire more people to use the Community Center for many reasons and events.

Future plans

Thasing wants next Saturday to be the beginning of a tradition in Elkton.

“We’re gonna do it every third Saturday. That’s gonna be year-round,” she said.

She wants the public and the vendors to have an appointed time to sell and buy locally produced goods that they can count on being there to build a following and a reputation. She also wants to add more craft vendors and food vendors.

“I envisioned this as being a smaller scale of Arts in the Park,” Thasing said.

The idea is to give locals a chance to come and look at items, but also get to know their neighbors.

She’s setting up an online application process whereby crafters can apply each month that they want to sell their wares.

“I have a plan for what is gonna happen for the next one,” Thasing added. “It’s coming together; it’s a labor of love.”

For more information, call Thasing at 605-542-1314.

Contact Jodelle Greiner at jgreiner@brookingsregister.com.

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