Market in the Park

Though summer may have come to a bittersweet end, there’s still plenty of outdoor family fun to be had at Market in the Park, a monthly small-business shopping event located at Warren County Armco Park in Lebanon. Market in the Park runs May-October on the first Saturday of each month from 10 AM - 4 PM.

We chatted with event coordinator Lauren Barnes to learn more, who runs the market with her husband Jacob in addition to owning Glad Rags, a women’s clothing and accessory boutique based out of her home.

Lauren was inspired to start Market in the Park from being a vendor at similar events in Dayton and Cincinnati and realizing that she wanted to create something more local, which would better accommodate families as well as her usual customer base, who weren’t frequenting the big-city events. At Market in the Park, shoppers are never charged an entry fee, and the aisles are wide enough to get through with strollers and dogs.

“We wanted to create a space where people could sell their goods and hand out information without the overhead of a brick-and-mortar”, Lauren explains, who says the event has become one of her favorite days.

“It’s a monthly event, not a one-and-done. There’s an opportunity to connect with the community and grow, which is even better if it leads to a vendor being able to open up a store.”

“There’s a nostalgic feel to the aesthetics and ambiance of Armco Park because a lot of people grew up with it,” says Lauren, whose market customers enjoy shopping in the beautiful, dog-friendly environment without the hustle and bustle of the city. The playgrounds, fishing, and paddleboat dock always help bring people back to the park as well.

Additionally, there is a themed 5K that starts at 9:00AM before each market, with registration beginning at 8:30. There’s a small fee, but participants get a free t-shirt and all the money made goes back to the park.

Market in the Park is always open to pairing with other foundations or events as well, such as the Jeep Rally, Wounded Warrior Project, the Atrium Health Mammogram bus, and the Blood Donor bus from Hoxworth UC.

“Vendors are becoming friends, and the event feels like a family, not a competition”, says Lauren, whose goal is to not pin vendors against one another by overflowing the amount of similar goods.

In addition to the Java Johnny’s EspressoMoto, this growing “Market Family” includes several non-duplicate food trucks, craft vendors such as Thimble Gardens by Celeste Vanover, a beer cart, and local farms selling fresh eggs, honey, and meat. You’ll also find free face-painting and balloon art for kids at the market.

Lauren’s favorite part about being at the helm for this event is meeting so many amazing people and having great conversations at the main tent.

“People don’t take the time to stop and talk to each other anymore, but to learn someone’s story and why they started their business…it’s hard to describe, but you have to come out and feel it for yourself.”

Vendors often express that it’s nice to be outdoors and see families walking around with a coffee in hand or walking their dog, “unplugging”, and supporting a local business.

“Even if we didn’t run this, we would be there every time,” Lauren says. Search “Market in the Park” on Facebook for more information and head over to Armco Park this Saturday, October 7th to catch the last market of the year.

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