Yellow Springs’ Cyclops Fest brings DIY culture for third year
By Justin Kreitzer
The annual fall festival season is upon us and it seems like every town, village and ‘burg has their own festival celebrating everything from pork and pretzels to pumpkins and walnuts. The oversaturation can be a bit much, but Yellow Springs – the Miami Valley’s own art hub – hosts a fall festival that both entertains and provides an outlet for its local artists to showcase and sell their arts and homemade goods in a whole new way.
The third annual Cyclops Fest will be held Saturday, Sept. 14 at the John Bryan Center in Yellow Springs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. This emerging craft fair – dubbed “an epic festival of handmade goods, music, culture and DIY wonderfulness” – is a truly unique take on the typical fall craft bazaar that only Yellow Springs could offer.
The festival as a whole is inspired by the DIY or “do-it-yourself” lifestyle and more than 80 local vendors will peddle their own unique variety of goods that range from inventive sustainable art and “Etsy-esque” handmade goods to other creative and organic artisan crafts that you will instantly fall in love with.
In addition to the great crafts, the Fest will again feature a beer garden with a spotlight on the local craft beer varieties offered by the Yellow Springs Brewery. Also, plenty of local food trucks and vendors – including Zombie Dogz, Caribbacanas, Nicolasa’s and Go Cupcake – will be on hand to fill your belly and cure your sweet tooth as you shop.
Further proving it is not just another craft show, the Cyclops Fest also boasts a variety of entertainment options including the Dayton City Paper-sponsored stage with musical performances by local DJs such as funk-lover Nicky Illiopolis, hip-hop crews Turntable Philanthropy and Skratchmatik, along with Mercutio and Philly Phil. Fun activities are planned for kids as well and various street performers such as Cap’n Johnny’s Whiz Bang are set to entertain shoppers.
The annual fest is spearheaded by DJ Galvin, co-owner of the Yellow Springs shop Urban Handmade, along with the Yellow Springs-based Clay + Stan advertising agency. Galvin was nice enough to take a break from planning the event to answer some questions from the Dayton City Paper about the evolution of the Cyclops Fest, the role music plays in the fest and what to expect.
You started the Cyclops Fest three years ago. What inspired you to put this fest together in the first place? What have you learned since and how has the fest evolved over the years?
We decided to start Cyclops Fest because we have a strong tie to the handmade community and wanted a festival to showcase the entrepreneurial spirit. We ourselves are handmade vendors and business owners. We wanted the environment to be something for everyone – to create a day of shopping for original handmade goods, listening to great music, learning or seeing something new. We’ve had the help of great sponsors including the Dayton City Paper, WYSO and the Yellow Springs Chamber of Commerce to spread the word about the festival. We have doubled our attendance each year. In our first year, we had 3,000 attendees – not too shabby for a first-year festival. The second year we doubled that to 6,000 attendees. For 2013 (our third year) we hope to double that again with over 9,000 attendees. – DJ Galvin
As the fest has grown, have you had interest from vendors outside of the Dayton area, or are you trying to keep it as local as possible?
We’re always on the lookout for great vendors regardless of where they’re from. Currently, we have vendors from Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton. – DG
Personally, I think it’s really great that music plays a big part of the fest. Can you explain how it plays into the festival as a whole?
Well, the whole idea of Cyclops is to bring together the widest range of independent artists possible. So, whether its music, street performers or even food trucks, we’re all artists and we hope that Cyclops gives us an opportunity to meet, share ideas and learn from each other. – DG
If someone reading this is still not aware of Cyclops Fest, how would you describe it to entice them to come out this year and what can they expect?
Well, if you’ve never been then this year is the year to start. We’ll have over 80 handmade artists, a Festival Beer Garden (featuring Yellow Springs Brewery), kids activities, street performers (Cap’n Johnny Whiz Bang Show), lots of food trucks/stands including Zombie Dogz and DJs (Turntable Philanthropy, Skratchmatik, Philly Phil, Nicky Illiopolis and Mercutio). Cyclops Fest will have something for everyone! Plus, it’s FREE. And the first 50 festival attendees that make a purchase from a vendor get a free swag bag! – DG
The Cyclops Fest takes place on Saturday, Sept. 14 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at John Bryan Center, 100 Dayton St., Yellow Springs. For more information visit cyclopsfest.com.