Marietta Marketplace first popped up in the Mid-Ohio Valley in 2014, the brain child of Laura Pytlik, the now owner of Wit & Whimzy in Downtown Marietta. The unique, mobile curated marketplace featured the products of local and regional makers, bakers, and collectors, offering a wide range of quality handmade and vintage items. For three years, the marketplace occurred on a mostly monthly basis throughout the summer months, showcasing a different group of vendors each time. Vendors and visitors alike traveled across state lines, making it the marketplace a staple summertime event.
The Marketplace filled the front lawn of Armory Square with colorful tents along with the occasional guest musician or food truck. Shoppers browsed through booths of original artwork, letterpress posters, upcycled and vintage items, lawn sculptures, handmade wooden furniture, one-of-a-kind jewelry, photo art, soaps, delicious baked goods, silk-screened t-shirts and more.
“I wanted to create an event that would showcase local and regional artists and artisans, and give them an opportunity to expand their audience,” said Laura. “I hoped the event would bring visitors downtown and drive more traffic to the charming shops and eateries that make up Downtown Marietta. I was one of the first to utilize the Armory for such an event, and the central location created a great energy and resulted in nice crowds of locals and visitors alike.”
Once Laura opened a shop of her own, she no longer had time to plan and run the marketplace events, a highly-coordinated effort – but the event was missed, both by vendors and shoppers. This year, Marietta Main Street decided to bring back the marketplace as The Great Marietta Marketplace, a once-a-year event to celebrate our local makers and business owners.
“It’s a prime opportunity to invite small business owners, entrepreneurs, and local artists into downtown Marietta who don’t have a brick and mortar location. Pop-up marketplaces like The Great Marietta Marketplace are perfect opportunities for the smallest of business owners to test a product, capture support, grow a following, and network with other creative minds,” said Cristie Thomas, Executive Director of Marietta Main Street.
Past vendors have included local makers such as Bobby Rosenstock of Just-a-Jar Design, local artists Michelle Waters and Nicole Harris, stain glass artist Steve Weber, and illustrator Leigh Cox, as well as makers from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and beyond. Shoppers were always bound to discover something new and unique while ambling through booths and chatting with vendors.
Although the focus of the marketplace is on handmade and vintage items, The Great Marietta Marketplace will also have special sections for direct sales vendors and non-profits, an area for children’s activities, and a selection of food trucks. Shoppers will also have an opportunity to listen to live music throughout the day while they browse.
“It’s important as a community that we create safe spaces for local to take risks,” said Cristie. “To create art, to meet a need, to build anew – these are all risk-taking behaviors and the best kinds truly are the change makers in our town. Growing a healthy local economy necessitates events like these to support new ideas and encourage small business owners to grow – maybe by opening a brick and mortar location downtown!”
This year’s Great Marietta Marketplace will take place on Saturday, August 25th in East Muskingum Park on Front Street in Downtown Marietta. Applications are being accepted in two rounds, with Round 1 applications due June 15th. Vendors can find the application and guidelines here on Marietta Main Street’s website.
Save the date and plan to visit the Great Marietta Marketplace in August to discover something new and unique!