For the first time since 2019, Villagefest returned to the streets of Slippery Rock where vendors were able to show off their products. The day was sunny and warm so Villagefest was able to attract a lot of people as these small businesses and local vendors promoted their products.
The festivities led up to the Slippery Rock white-out game against Lock Haven University, which the Rock won in a 57-7 bout. Mayor Jondavid Longo was on hand for Villagefest, where he was walking around talking to people and introducing himself.
“This is one of those events that we as a community look forward to every year, so naturally it’s great to see everyone out here enjoying the great weather, camaraderie and the good fun Villagefest brings,” Longo said. “Even more so, it’s nice to see these small business owners and vendors that are able to make a living here.”
Villagefest was made up of all vendors and small businesses and it gave them the chance to highlight about their businesses. Among the tables there was Boo Boo Oil & Salve, which is run by Vicki Meals. Like many others, she depends on Villagefest to bring a boost to their exposure and income.
“[I missed Villagefest] very much so because I’ve counted on it for the extra support,” Meals said. “It’s been incredible [being back out here] because I get to see people, I haven’t seen in almost two years.”
Meals makes natural products, including essential oils and gemstones. The year without Villagefest was a rough one for everyone around the county, especially small businesses. But Villagefest was able to draw people out and get some eyes on the local businesses.
A local vendor that was at the event was “The Button Traveler,” Terry Sendek. She makes custom buttons and has also written some books, but the Villagefest gave her an opportunity to reach a new base of people, like it did for so many other people.
“It’s awesome [having Villagefest], I’ve done it for years and it’s a great time,” Sendek said. “I get to talk to people which is terrific. It’s great to be back.”
Another aspect of the festival was being able to have two full classes of students that have never experienced it before. Slippery Rock has been back on campus and as things start to return to more of a sense of normalcy, students are able to experience new things like Villagefest that have been a staple of the community for so many years.
“It’s really awesome, especially after COVID, being able to see all these people interact with each other,” freshman Emily Siedel said.