Makers 2.0 Poised for Peaceful Takeover of Manahawkin Lake Park Saturday
Last year’s inaugural Makers Festival drew an estimated 3,000 people to Beachview Farm in Manahawkin. The sophomore effort, this Saturday, Sept. 17, relocates to Manahawkin Lake Park.
Conceived and organized by The MakeShift Union, comprised of Erin Buterick, Jeannine Errico and Dani Corso, in collaboration with local female business owners Dawn Simon of Swing Graphics, Jessie Temple of Bunkerfish Design and Brie Fagan of Wandering Gypsea, the festival is a creative oasis of over 125 artisans, brewers, farmers, designers and craftspeople celebrating a collective artistic endeavor.
The goal of the MakeShift Union is to help nurture and showcase homegrown artistic talent and business sensibilities while simultaneously providing a high-quality experience to the community. Services range from hosting large-scale proprietary events to consulting and curating for other likeminded organizations.
Sustainable living is a central theme of the day. Bring reusable totes for shopping. Bring a refillable water bottle and take advantage of Alliance for a Living Ocean’s hydration stations. (As a plastic- and Styrofoam-free event, disposable water bottles will not be sold onsite.)
Guests over the age of 21 are invited, for $10, to enjoy the Botanical Box Biergarten and a commemorative Makers Mason jar, with offerings from Ship Bottom Brewing, Pinelands Brewing Co., Tuckahoe Brewing Co., Brooklyn Brewery and a special selection from Shore Point Distributing Co. Proceeds from the Biergarten benefit the Jetty Rock Foundation, a Southern Regional High School arts scholarship and the Stafford Historical Society.
Dani Corso of Volatile Media Management said the philanthropic end of the event is what takes it to the next level for her. She added she wakes up excited every day to collaborate with Buterick and Errico on various projects. “Makers Fest has become a source of daily inspiration, joining Jetty, David’s Dream and Believe and Volatile as the cornerstones of my personal involvement in the community.”
On the Robert Errico Builders Makers Stage, eight original acts take their turns: Above the Moon, Sahara Moon, The Double Negatives, Nectar and Ambrosia, Yes Love (brothers Ryan Walsh of Atlas and Anchor and Brendan Walsh of Oak Leaf Media), Matt Rott, The River Bones and The Disfunction (returning from Puerto Rico for the second year).
The food court is where to find snack and mealtime goodness from The Woo Hoo, Sunny Rae’s Kitchen, Anonymous Pulled Pork, Concave Coffee, Sassafras Hill Farm (led by local farmer and former Makers host Chris Adams), The General Store, Passion Flour Cupcakery, The Oyster Farmers Raw Bar and Black-Eyed Susans.
Catch a cameo by the LBI FLY International Kite Festival; dance improv with Bellarine Theatre Co.; donation-based yoga classes with instructors from Grow, Dreamlit, Liquid Bliss and Yoga Bohemia; onsite screenwriting with Ink’d by Jetty; live painting; spinal screenings from Swell Life Chiropractic; henna, face painting, countless hands-on demos, a hammock garden and a melange of other activities.
“We started making moves for this year’s fest immediately after the close of the last,” Corso said.
As planning for the second annual event was underway, the MakeShift Union expanded its event portfolio with a Makers Potluck Meet and Greet at the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences in Loveladies in March, MakeShift Row at Hop Sauce Festival in May, and the addition of monthly Third Thursday Makers Pop-Ups on Long Beach Island all summer long.
“Planning this year’s festival was both easier and harder than last year, in a sense,” according to Jeannine Errico. “Easier, in that we had more of a handle on our vision, which helped us to execute that vision, since we had tackled the massive undertaking once before. Harder, in that we had to start from scratch in a new location after Beachview closed.”
The new, (four times!) larger location means more to coordinate and day-of activities to plan. Errico said her hope is to provide the same quality experience as last year, if not better.
As the second time dealing with a brand new spot, Buterick said, “it’s almost like starting all over again.” Wanting to optimize the available real estate, the decision to add not only more vendors but also more activities and hammock gardens to balance it all out was key, she said.
“Our goal is to keep you there for hours,” she said. “Spend the day shopping, eating, enjoying live music, take a yoga class or two, or lounge in the hammock gardens. It’s truly a full-day event, and we really packed it in this year. We want people to feel comfortable hanging out, so we’ll have plenty of places to sit, but we encourage guests to bring a blanket or beach chairs and set up camp.”
From an organizational standpoint, the logistics are scary, Buterick agreed. Last year, the wait times for the parking shuttle were an issue, so this year two full-size school buses will run circuits to and from Southern Regional High School all day. “We do expect traffic delays, so biking and walking are always encouraged,” she added.
Corso described Makers 2.0 as “a beautiful monster.”
“None of us could have expected to be where we are now when we were awaiting our first applications in November 2014. It was terrifying, not knowing if we were going to be able to bring our idea to life. Now, the tension and terror come from wanting to fulfill our promise to our creatives and the community.
“We hope to be able to create the same type of ‘magic’ that we experienced on the farm last year,” Corso said, “in a location that is much more easily accessible” – to the public, anyway.
Meanwhile, the main thing keeping Errico up at night is vendor load-in. The vendor scheme is a bit complicated this year, she explained, so it’s not as easy as driving up, unloading and driving back out. All 130 vendors must be directed into and out of the park in a very organized and time-efficient manner.
“Emotions run high during this time, and we get it – people want to get to their spots as easy as possible to start setting up their beautiful booths. We’re just asking for cooperation, patience, love and world peace. Is that too much to ask?” (Insert nervous laughter here.)
Following this year’s event, MSU will work closely with LBIF to bring the MakeShift Night Market and Holiday Exhibit to life through the end of the year.
With Makers Fest poised to become an LBI Region tradition, MSU is focused on drawing attention to the local arts scene throughout the entire year by continuing to offer opportunities for creative types to connect with the community and each other.
The event is the product of local artists’ investment in themselves and in the LBI Region as an arts destination as well as local entities’ support: Stafford Township Recreational Department, The Botanical Box, Robert Errico Builders, Creative Click Media, Medicine Solutions Pharmacy, Jetty, Shore Point Distribution Co., m.t. burton gallery, the LBI Chamber of Commerce, Suburban Camping Co., bay magazine, Pangaea Naturals, Thomas Massa and Associates, Greg Molyneux Photography and Ocean Tents. Generous event sponsorship enables free admission and shuttle services from Southern Regional High School.
Makers, Errico said, is a celebration of what makes us all tick – “without dragging politics and bullshit into the mix.”
“I want everyone (vendors, sponsors, guests) to walk away feeling like they just had a really positive experience,” she said.
For Buterick, the joy is seeing the handmade goods in person. “We get to see a glimpse of everyone’s work and preparations via social media platforms, but there’s nothing better than meeting the maker and seeing all of their hard work in physical form.”
For the most up-to-date information, visit themakersfest.com and follow the official social outlets, facebook.com/themakersfest and @themakersfest on Instagram. To learn more about the MakeShift Union, visit themakeshiftunion.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.