Marketplace debuts Saturday

MARIETTA – It’s not a crafts show, flea market, antiques or artist’s show, but the first-ever Marietta Marketplace will include some elements of each with more than 16 vendors gathering on the front lawn of Armory Square Saturday.

Event coordinator Laura Pytlik of Lowell said the marketplace is what’s known as a “pop-up flea” event, although it’s nothing like your run-of-the-mill flea market.

“These pop-up fleas are one-day only events that are taking place in cities across the country,” she said. “And most cities have them more than once during the warmer season of the year.”

Pytlik said the market includes booths of art, quality handcrafts, vintage goods and food.

“Basically the marketplace is a unique event showcasing small businesses that may not be located in a brick-and-mortar store, although some do have permanent business locations,” she said. “This gives them a chance to connect with the community. And there are a lot of really creative, talented people who have chosen to live in this area.”

Pytlik said many vendors will come from the Marietta and Parkersburg area, but there will also be participants from Athens and Pittsburgh.

One of the vendors, illustrator Leigh Cox, recently moved to Muskingum Township where she does watercolor and pen-and-ink in her small home studio.

“I lived in Chicago for about nine years where I worked in graphic design,” she said. “But I also do a lot of outdoor art, mostly wildlife. I worked for Fur, Fish and Game Magazine for about 10 years.”

Cox said she’s attended pop-up fleas in Chicago and other large cities, but Saturday’s Marietta Marketplace will be the first in which she’s participated.

“I’m pretty excited about it,” she said. “And I think it will be really neat to speak face-to-face with people and to meet other artists from the local area.”

A variety of items will be available at the market, but they will not include franchised products like those sold at home parties for large national companies, Pytlik said.

“We’ve tried to provide a blend of vendors that sell artistic, hand crafted or re-purposed items,” she said. “And we’ll have some artisans from outside the area who often have their own followings which will hopefully bring more people into Marietta.”

Bobby Rosenstock and his wife, Sara, operate justAjar Design Press in Marietta.

“We use an 1880s letter press and a 1960s press,” Bobby said. “The 1880s press is operated by a foot pedal and works with moveable type.”

He carves images into wooden blocks which are used to print a range of materials.

“We do a lot of posters for musicians and events,” Bobby said. “We did one for Willie Nelson’s New Year’s show in Texas. But we also print posters for local events like Stuart’s Opera House.”

The Rosenstocks have participated in pop-up flea events elsewhere, in Pittsburgh, Columbus and New York City.

“But this will be our first in Marietta,” he said. “And I think it will be a great event.”

Jean G. Farmer, executive director of Marietta Main Street, described the marketplace as a unique, very upscale flea market that’s a mixture of old and new, with fine antiques and re-purposed items as well as products crafted by local and some out-of-town artisans.

“It’s really their event, but Marietta Marketplace is partnering with us as this promotes downtown Marietta,” she said. “And this is a good event to be located at Armory Square. I think everyone will be pleasantly surprised.”

Pytlik said the marketplace is not competing with area businesses, but it is an effort to highlight Marietta.

“We’re just trying to bring an event that will showcase what a great town Marietta is and to draw some people from outside the area here,” she said.

The idea for the Marietta Marketplace was generated several months ago by Laura and her daughter, Sarah Pytlik.

“My daughter lived in Cincinnati while in college and she saw the ‘City Flea,’ which is a pop-up flea in that area,” Laura said, adding that they thought a similar event would be well-received in Marietta.

She said if Saturday’s event goes well, another Marietta Marketplace could be scheduled in the fall.