By Amanda Richey, Editor-in-Chief
The Farm Fresh Fair celebrated its fifth year Sept. 17 and 18 with live music, fresh food and more than 100 local small-scale vendors selling everything from vintage items to jewelry to “upcycled” art. Visitors could hear chickens clucking while strolling through the open-air vendor market.
The fair is the brainchild of Lisa Stamm, co-owner of the Farm at Rabon Creek where the annual weekend-long festival is held.
“The most fun is the creative part, dreaming it up,” Stamm said.
Stamm says the idea for the fair came from the property itself. In the midst of the 70 acres of rolling fields where cattle and goats graze, there is an open-air free stall barn longer than a football field.
“This was before Etsy and I thought ‘what a perfect place for people who don’t have anywhere to sell their things.’ You know, people who aren’t trained artists, people that just like to do crafts or whatever, so we gave it a shot,” Stamm said.
“If you would go and talk to most vendors I think you’ll find that this is one of their favorite shows that they do. I think mostly because of the atmosphere.”
The fair organizers have never paid for advertising but that hasn’t stopped people from flocking to the event. By the end of the first day more than 4000 people had visited the fair. Many Furman students attended as volunteers.
“Last year I worked at the mobile market, but this year I helped out with parking. It was fun to switch it up and see a different side of the event,” said Kristina Benson, a senior Sustainability Science and Asian Studies double major.
“I had a great time meeting vendors, visitors and animals at the Farm at Rabon Creek. I also love the movement to support local artisans and entrepreneurs.”
In addition to supporting local vendors the fair features a fundraiser for a different local charity each year. This year visitors were encouraged to fill 10 “house banks” with spare change during their weekend visit. All of the collected cash went directly to Habitat for Humanity of Greenville County. The fair organizers also built a small “she shed” that was auctioned off in support of the organization.
Stamm hopes the Farm Fresh Fair only continues to grow in the coming years as a way to celebrate local art and fresh food under the late summer sunshine.