Cyclops Fest: the DIY event that grooves

DJ sets mix with shopping at booths.

​​Kyleemae Designs in Springfield, which won the Best of Show prize at last year’s Cyclops Fest, is just one of about 80 unique handmade artisans displaying its wares when the fourth annual event returns to John Bryan Center in Yellow Springs at 10 a.m. Saturday.

“Our tagline is ‘An epic festival of handmade goods, music, culture and DIY wonderfulness,’ and it really is,” said DJ Galvin, who co-founded the event in 2011. “Cyclops is a little different. It’s a festival you probably haven’t experienced unless you’ve been there.”

Featured handmade artisans include Barmaid Soap Company from Kettering, Backyard Living from Columbus and Preble Clayworks from West Alexandria. To check out these and other participating vendors, go online to www.cyclopsfest.com.

“We consider the online promotion kind of like window shopping, so people can see the different artists that will be there,” Galvin said. “It’s also part of the handmade culture. We love to promote businesses. Most of them aren’t what I’d call part-time crafters, they actually do this for a living. They either have shops or sell online, so it’s that small entrepreneur mentality.”

Music begins Saturday at 11 a.m. with DJ sets from Nicky Illiopolis, Philly Phill, DJ Nordique, Skratchmatik and DJ Shane Creepingbear. “Having DJs has worked really well,” Galvin said. “It’s great music that puts you in a good mood. You can listen to the music and still focus on the shopping, and vendors can talk to their customers, but there’s this really fun atmosphere going on at the same time.

“We had live music the first two years, and we found a lot of people would stop and watch the bands instead of taking part in the festival itself,” she said. “This is kind of the best of both worlds. It’s great for shopping and talking and it gives it a real community feel.”

The DIY spirit is also reflected in the craft beers available from Yellow Springs Brewery and other area brewers and in the rising number of locally owned food trucks participating.

“We had six food trucks last year,” Galvin said. “This year we’ll have eight. The first year I think we had two different food trucks. There really weren’t that many around then. It wasn’t until the last two years that Dayton has had so many good ones.

“Some of the feedback we’ve gotten in the past is there’s not enough different food selections, so we’ve kind of covered the bases,” Galvin said. “We have everything from Zombie Dogz to Harvest Mobile, so you can have some organic vegan selections or you can get a hot dog and enjoy a craft beer too.”

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Contact this contributing writer at donaldthrasher8@aol.com.

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