La Belle Epoque of Strange Folk Festival

Strange Folk Festival in Lafayette Square

Last week I had a chance to sit down with Autumn Wiggins, creator of the Strange Folk Festival. For those who have not yet heard of this amazing, craft-happy event, it’s been running for 11 years, first in O’Fallon, Mo., then last year moving to a temporary home in St. Louis’s Union Station.

Autumn worked with Square One Brewery to create this year's signature beer Bonne Pomme.
Autumn worked with Square One Brewery to create this year’s signature beer: Bonne Pomme.

Autumn conceived the event to showcase the wide array of artists and makers in the St. Louis region, and over the years the show has become half craft fair/half art installation. Autumn has incorporated music, children’s events and activities, a 5k, and anything else she’s dreamed up, helping this festival to become a highly-anticipated destination event for many in the wider region.

However, the Strange Folk Festival almost didn’t survive 2015. After nine years of practically single-handedly coordinating the project for little-to-no pay, Autumn was burnt out. She toyed with the idea of pulling back from the festival and focusing on her retail craft supply shop Upcycle Exchange. However, the outcry from the maker community was intense, and Autumn realized the importance of the event to others—causing her to rethink her strategy. She’s now closed Upcycle, moved to new digs on innovation-loving Cherokee Street, and dedicated herself full-time to pulling off the massive creative undertaking that is Strange Folk.

In the video below we discuss her plans for this year’s event, and some of the challenges she faces in running it.

Here are the details on this year’s Strange Folk:

  • Where: Lafayette Square/Lafayette Park
  • When: September 24th and 25th, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day (there’s also an unannounced Saturday night event that I couldn’t get her to spill any details on.)
  • Cost: No cost to attendees
  • Get more info at the event’s Facebook page

Gnome Base Photo Gallery

I loved talking to Autumn about her sense of optimism that St. Louis is indeed entering a beautiful age. Her thoughts echo those of other creatives and entrepreneurs I’ve spoken to over the last year, who feel that we’re on the verge of a great artistic and entrepreneurial push in our region, and I am excited to see what happens next.

Strange Folk 2016 Interview with Autumn Wiggins

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