Makers Festival Set for Fourth Annual Handcrafted Celebration

Sep 06, 2018

On Sept. 15, The MakeShift Union presents the Fourth Annual Makers Festival at Manahawkin Lake Park.

Organizers say: “The mission of the festival is to highlight the underground current of Makers who are changing the landscape of production and consumerism in America and, more specifically, in Ocean County. The day celebrates the collective artistic endeavors of homegrown talent, locally and beyond, and features more than 10 dozen Makers whose crafts include handmade and vintage fashion, sculpting and woodworking, photography and fine art, craft beer, food and music.”

The festival has 183 handmade artisans this year (11 of which will be housed in the MakeShift PopUp), 14 eateries and five breweries. Admission to the festival grounds is free. Admission to the biergarten, provided by The Barrel Mobile Bar, is $10. Yoga is free – sponsored by LBI Community Yoga. “These local yogis have made names for themselves individually but have recently come together to highlight and elevate all yoga happenings in the LBI Region,” Makers co-founder Dani Corso said.

“We technically have over 180 vendors, but I promise it will feel like 3,000 on markout day,” Makers co-founder Erin Buterick said.

For Corso, in the last four years the excitement about Makers has not waned a bit. “It’s still unreal to know that what could have been a single arts event has grown into an annual celebration that has shaped our everyday lives,” she said. “The community response inspired us to open The Union Market & Gallery at The Tuckerton Seaport, which allows us to provide more opportunities for local artists to showcase their talents and keeps the spirit of Makers Fest alive all year long.”

With only a few days until showtime, Buterick said she feels pretty calm and knows what to expect. “There are always butterflies leading up to approximately 10 a.m. on the big day, but we have as much under control as we can. Everything else will be dealt with as it arises because there will always be those things we didn’t expect to happen. Actually, ask me on September 14th around 11 p.m., my answer may be different.”

Corso said the jury process is agonizing. “We had over 250 applicants for 153 available spots this year. We were able to accept an additional 30 artisans with the knowledge that we could better utilize the lakefront to its fullest potential. We relocated the beer garden to a more centralized location and freed up more space for artists. Even with these changes, the unfortunate reality is that some applicants will not be accepted. It breaks our hearts every single time to have to make those decisions.”

“Saying ‘no’ to someone is the hardest part of the process,” Buterick agreed. “Rounding a close second is any forced public speaking that Dani imposes on me – she knows my rules.”

The parking scenario will include “The Mud Shuttle and a slew of jitneys making loops from the Southern Regional Middle School to the festival grounds from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. The shuttles are free, but tipping is appreciated. Parking is also available along side streets, with organizers’ urging to be respectful.

Makers Fest is a sustainable event, meaning no plastic cups, cutlery, or plastic shopping bags will be available onsite. We encourage all guests to bring their own reusable bottles for use at Alliance for a Living Ocean’s refillable water stations and tote bags to fill with one-of-a-kind treasures. ALO water bottles and DDBCF totes will be available for purchase in support of their respective missions.

New to look forward to this year is the layout, and the “rest tents.”

Buterick said she is mostly looking forward to the maniacal shopping. “I have a tendency to stop at vendors and chat for too long, and I’ve yet to make it around the entire festival. This year, I plan to start early to keep this crazy train moving in order to do as much damage to my bank account as possible. I’m also very excited to eat.”

Extra special this year, Makers Fest will have a positive impact on New Jersey families battling a cancer diagnosis. David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation joined Stafford Historical Society and Pinelands and Southern Regional scholarships as beneficiaries of the Barrel Mobile Bar Biergarten. According to Corso, who is also David’s Executive Director, with her MakeShift partners as advisory board members, the decision to donate some of the proceeds to the foundation was simple.

Sponsorship Opportunities are available. Please visit for details.

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