LIMA — In a sign that things are starting to return to “normal,” the Allen County Fairgrounds welcomed back “Shipshewana on the Road” on Saturday and Sunday.
The annual marketplace was canceled last year due to the pandemic. This year’s show brought back many of the familiar vendors of the past.
Kris Kempf owns Kris’s Kountry Kitchen out of South Bend, Indiana, where they specialize in homemade baked goods and cookies.
“This is so nice to be normal, to get back and start selling again and be able to do things and see people and talk to people,” Kempf said.
For many vendors, 2020 was a down year for them.
“We survived. We’ll keep going,” Kempf said.
Greg Fountain is the event director for Shipshewana on the Road and was excited to start the shows back up.
“It’s been a very difficult year for us as well as everybody else. Since March, we’ve held four shows, so we’re just getting back started again and in the process of feeling comfortable. Our vendors have returned for the large part and the customers have returned also,” Fountain said.
Jeff Bruce of Bruce’s Concessions was selling his cinnamon sugar-coated almonds, pecans and cashews.
The pandemic really did a number on his business, which is based in Hastings, Michigan.
“It was horrible. We really didn’t have much of anything. The last thing we did was the Fort Wayne Festival of Lights, and we didn’t have anything until Greg picked up the shows again,” Bruce said. “We love coming to this show here in Lima. This is actually our best Shipshewana on the Road Show that we do with him.”
Some of the vendors had to call it quits.
“Several vendors have had to make other decisions in their life to move forward and prosper,” Fountain said. “Most of the vendors I’m familiar with have returned. We have a little over 200 booths full here, and that’s right in line with what we’re allowed to have, so it works out very well for everyone.
“The thing that I’m so excited to see is the customers are returning. They’re comfortable to come out, and I just believe that will continue to improve over the next six months to a year.”
The next Shipshewana on the Road event is scheduled next weekend at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.