Kathy Mumma, of Halifax, started making artisan soaps and lotions as a hobby in 2013.
She enjoyed crafting so much that she soon had a surplus, and it wasn’t long before she started a business — Sadie’s Scent-sational Soap, which she named after her puppy — and began taking her wares to two or three craft shows a month.
On Saturday, Mumma was back in Shippensburg for the fourth year to attend the Corn Festival.
“It’s my favorite show of the whole year by far,” she said. “That’s why I make corn soap. The people are so into it. It’s well organized, but the people who come to the show seem to be very embracing.”
She said the most impressive part of the festival is the atmosphere, from the entertainment and food to Corny the Scarecrow, who greets people throughout the day.
“The band comes down the center of the street … and people run around and say ‘Have a corny day!’,” she said.
Other vendors agree.
Prep and setup
Carol Krieger, of Parkton, Maryland, owner of Buckets and Garden Stones by Carol, has been coming to the Corn Festival for the past 17 or 18 years.
Krieger uses an air brush to paint and customize buckets with children’s names, and also creates hand-molded cement stepping stones decorated with things like pebbles and shells.
“It’s not too far from home, and it’s always been a good show … I get a lot of repeat customers,” she said. “I have people who had buckets who now want to buy them for their children.”
She said the buckets are durable and can be used at home for toys or at the beach.
Last year, Krieger left her home at 3 a.m. in order to drive to Shippensburg and set up her display in time for the start of the show. This year, she and her assistant, Ginny Martina, just stayed in Chambersburg on Friday night in order to save time Saturday morning.
Mike Sowers, of York, who runs Recycle Bottle Slumpers with his sister, Sue Pooler, arrived around 5 a.m. to set up at the Corn Festival this year.
Their business specializes in cheese trays, wind chimes and vases made from melted glass bottles, and also sells cut and polished drinking glasses.
“About four years ago, I learned how to melt original bottles without burning the paint,” Sowers said. “You can scrub them with steel wool … and they’re dishwasher safe.”
He said he prefers to work with older bottles from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, which he finds mostly at flea markets, because the glass is thicker.
Sowers said the Corn Festival is one of the biggest shows they attend.
“It’s great,” he said. “I love it.”
Debbie Weaver, Corn Festival president, said vendors set up displays as early as 4 a.m. for the typical crowd of 30,00 to 40,000 people. They come from as far away as Virginia and New Jersey and offer a wide variety of crafts.
Elaine Trego, of Orbisonia, was at the festival this year with a friend, Laura Cutshall, also of Orbisonia.
“There are a lot of new things this year,” Trego said. “I like repurposed things.”
“The one-of-a-kinds,” added Cutshall, who was at the show for the first time.
“It’s interesting talking to the vendors,” Trego said. “One year, I bought a suet feeder from a business run by a father and son. I was their first customer.”
Penny Snyder, of Marysville, was at the show with her sister-in-law, Wendy Snyder, of Grantville, and Wendy’s daughter, Renee Kolacek, of New Cumberland.
“There’s just so much here,” said Penny Snyder, who has attended the Corn Festival for more than 10 years.
Ruth Best, of Dry Run, comes to the festival every year and shops for Christmas gifts. This year, she brought her husband, Joe, who looks for antiques.
“We like to get here early — before it gets crowded,” she said, adding that by 8 a.m., the street was already starting to fill.