Round Lake residents breathe new life into old tradition

Over 70 vendors including local brewers, jewelers, food artisans, blacksmiths and “indie makers” have been selected to participate in the new and improved Markets at Round Lake craft fair Aug. 13 and 14.

The event has been a village tradition to raise funds for the local libraries for more than 30 years. This year, the event is undergoing a transformation.

“There was a committee change last year that was an opportunity to change and make it more modern,” said Eva Sbardella Sackal, co-chair and event producer. Rather than trying to catch up to the current trends, Markets at Round Lake aims to set the trends. She along with two other co-chairs, Kim Sheridan-Dugmore and Deb Albrecht, have been working to make their vision a reality since September.

In 1896, a group of women gathered to form the Women’s Round Lake Improvement Society. Their mission was “to support the Round Lake Libraries and to make Round Lake desirable and attractive as a place of residence and in all ways to study to keep pace with the progressive spirit of the age,” according to the Markets at Round Lake website.

The upcoming Markets at Round Lake aims to carry on that tradition of progress by breathing new life into a craft fair that has been a longstanding tradition. Each year, dozens of craft vendors gathered along the Zim Smith Trail to raise money for the local libraries. This year, the committee asked three jurors to help curate the event by choosing vendors who are not only high skilled, but who know the value of branding themselves well and who offer something unique.

One juror, Alexandra Chang, is a curator of special projects and the director of global arts programs at NYU. Takeyce Walter, a local painter and art instructor from Clifton Park is another juror. The final juror, Ami Lahoff, is the owner of Skipping Goat Farm and works at the Etsy office in Hudson.

“When you recognize a brand before you see their name … it’s a beautiful testament to that person’s work,” said Sackal. Those vendors who have achieved that type of brand recognition and who are constantly working to create something new are the ones the new Markets at Round Lake is interested in.

We have five or six ceramic vendors but none are alike. They’re all drastically different,” said Sackal.

The event will feature four distinct markets: an indie market, a book market, a craft market and a food market. The Mill on Round Lake sponsored the event’s music which features Brian Gibney from Hair of the Dog with Jim McArdle and The North and South Dakotas. A book sale will run from Friday evening through Sunday evening in the historic Round Lake Auditorium. There will be 15,000 used and rare books, according to the website.

While the book sale begins Friday evening, the craft fair will run from 9 a.m. through 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

“Imagine the Markets at Round Lake as if it was your own store filled with all of your favorite things. That’s what it felt like as we curated makers and the approach our lovely jurors took when considering applications,” said Sheridan-Dugmore, director of vendor relations and owner of The Quiet Woods based in Round Lake.

“The Markets at Round Lake is all about breaking from tradition while still honoring it. Having Death Wish Coffee Co. as our major sponsor highlights that precisely. Many of these makers and artisans, like Death Wish, use age-old techniques in new, distinct ways. You recognize their products before you even see their name. That’s a pretty powerful thing and is why we look at the brand and presentation, in addition to the products,” said Sackal.

Death Wish Coffee coordinator Kane Grogan said, “We are very excited to be a part of Markets at Round Lake. It’s not very often we get to contribute to something in our backyard and this particular event is going to be fantastic. Hopefully this is the first of many to come!”

Crystal and Mike Moore of the Weird Beard Candle Company of Troy said, “Our favorite part of selling at in-person markets is seeing people’s reactions when they actually smell our candles. We’ll never get tired of seeing the look of amazement spread over someone’s face when they crack open our Saturday Morning Cartoons candle, and realize that it actually smells like they just opened a box of Fruit Loops!”

“It’s humbling,” said Sackal. “At the beginning [in September] I thought it would be great if we could get 35 high-quality vendors. We have 76 and they’re all spectacular,” she said. “We’re celebrating local business. We’re celebrating the maker’s revolution and the revival of handmade goods,” added Sackal.

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