30th annual Leclaire Parkfest celebrates long community history
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By Brandon Wells, Reporter
With vendors, visitors and more, Leclaire Parkfest returned for its third decade Sunday at Leclaire Park in Edwardsville.
The festival consisted of a wide variety of small and local artisans who specialized in different types of crafts as well as an area dedicated to showcasing the history of the park and how it came to be what it is today. On top of this, the park saw live music, book sales, and a car show.
The event began in 1992 after the Friends of Leclaire, the host of the festival, was officially incorporated with Illinois as an educational, nonprofit organization.
One of the artisans, Lynn Sucher of Oberland, Missouri, makes various purses and covers for those purses that can be changed out. Sucher said she’s been a vendor at the festival for four years, and has been doing her craft since 2011.
For her products, Sucher said her reuse of fabrics for both her standard size purses and coin purses has helped her be more successful and be able to sell her products at festivals like this one. She said her involvement in the Leclaire Park Fest is due to being told about it by one of her friends who had been a vendor in prior years.
Another vendor, Cassandra Cretton, of Collinsville, Illinois, sells different types of crafts such as necklaces and rings. Cretton said she had been involved with the festival in previous years before she moved and that this is her first year being back.
This year’s festival also sees a slight change in leadership with William Krause, a member of Friends of Leclaire, being the new vendor coordinator for the festival. Krause and his wife have been with Friends of Leclaire since 2008 and before being the vendor coordinator, he served since 2009as a trolley tour guide for the event.
Krause said one of his favorite things about being involved in the festival is how it brings the community together and seeing so many repeat attendees.
“This is one of the longest running festivals in the City of Edwardsville and it’s just a down-home, old fashioned event. We don’t have many corporate sponsors; it’s handmade crafts, it’s local food vendors, it’s not-for-profits (and) it is a lot of neighbors,” Krause said. “The main theme is community.”
Krause said his position will likely be a five-year commitment and being the vendor coordinator is a job that prioritizes helping the vendors feel welcome.
“We have long-time vendors that have been coming to this for 30 years and one of the goals of Rebbecca (festival coordinator) and I has been to welcome in new attendees as well,” Krause said.