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Shop the Lot is back

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt Aurora Seger makes gourmet blue raspberry cotton candy at the Shop the Lot event. The blue raspberry was the most popular flavor of cotton candy from Froggy’s Cotton Candy Bar.

NEW ULM — The Shop the Lot craft and vendor fair was held in the New Ulm City Parking at 2nd North and Broadway, Saturday.

This was the first in a series of craft and vendor fairs that will be held in the lot throughout the summer. The planned schedule is to hold the craft and vendor fairs twice a month through August.

James Haviland and Heather Ellanson have been organizing these fairs in New Ulm for the last six years. Last year, they began using the city hall parking lot to host the fairs as the location brings in a great deal of foot traffic.

Saturday’s fair featured 14 vendors selling a variety of items from scented candles and jewelry to dog scarfs and cotton candy. The New Ulm Fire Department (NUFD) also had a booth promoting their 150th anniversary. Several items, including shirts, mugs and glasses had the NUFD’s 150th emblem on them. Fire department member Tony Arndt said the plan was to sell most of the merchandise last year during the NUFD’s 150th anniversary but COVID restrictions limited what the department could do. From 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, June 19, the NUPD will also be outside of the main fire station on 8th North and Broadway selling 150th-anniversary merchandise.

Candles were a popular sales item at the craft show. McKenzie Swanson of Swan Maid sold several scented candles. Her candles were made of soy wax which burns slower than paraffin and leaves less soot. Swanson said her favorite candle is the roasted s’more scented candle, but the Summer Thunder Storm candle actually sold out during the show.

Jewelry was also a top seller. Swanson said her most popular items were her rose quartz bracelets.

This was one of the first craft shows in over a year where face masks were not the top-selling item. As COVID restrictions are reduced, the demand for masks has fallen.

Ellanson said she is not selling as many masks, but there are still people who are using the masks. Some have found the masks can be repurposed as washcloths.

The sweetest returning vendor was Froggy’s Cotton Candy Bar out of Le Sueur. At this booth, visitors could get gourmet cotton candy. Cotton candy is made by mixing in hard candy to give a stronger flavor.

Booth manager Aurora Seger said the most popular flavor of cotton candy was blue raspberry. Her favorite part of the day was seeing the reactions of people to taste the cotton candy. No one expects that amount of flavor from cotton candy.

The Shop the Lot vendors were pleased with the turnout for the first craft show of the season. The cool weather was credited with bringing out the crowds.

The next Shop the Lot event is scheduled for Saturday, June 26.

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