Buckler Arts & Craft Fair Hosted In Lakeland
by James Coulter
What do unicorns, kittens, and Stormtroopers have in common? Normally, not much. But for a local mother-daughter team, they’re the perfect subjects for plush art.
For the past 21 years, Anita Glover and her mother Michelle Kolch have been making plush artwork together, including wall hangings and growth charts.
The two often focus on creating merchandise that appeals to young children. For that reason, they recently started making unique plush items based off of Star Wars characters, including Stormtroopers and The Child from “The Mandalorian.”
“My granddaughter is a major nerd,” Michelle said. “Everything we do is about personalization, everything we do is personalized.”
Recently, the mother-daughter duo showcased their artwork at Buckler Arts & Craft Fair in Lakeland last weekend. They normally do not attend such smaller shows, but with the pandemic forcing many of their usual shows to cancel or postpone, they decided to participate in this year’s event.
“Traditionally, we would not be here, but because of COVID, they have been canceled, and that is why we are here,” Michelle said. “We lost a lot of shows. The other shows have been canceled.”
For more than 30 years, Buckler Arts has been the largest promoter of indoor and outdoor events, hosting craft fairs and festivals across the state. They hosted their event in Lakeland at the RP Funding Center on Saturday and Sunday.
Nearly 100 vendors gathered within the convention center to sell their wares, ranging from painted wood to makeshift sculptures. With the holidays around the corner, many merchandise were themed to Christmas, with Christmas trees, ornaments, and stuffed snowmen.
Barbara Davis is a local Lakeland resident who specialized in creating snowmen plush. She has created hundreds of snowmen and dressed them in clothing themed after sports teams, including college and NFL.
“I don’t have every team, but I have a lot of them,” she said.
This was her first time at a Buckler event. She was quite surprised by the turnout, especially under recent circumstances. She appreciated being able to see so many people out there and taking caution by social distancing. If anything, it allowed her the opportunity to sell her dolls.
“Everybody needs a snowman,” she said. “You can’t make it yourself out of snow. You have to fake it.”
Doug Zonner, the owner of Pickle Patch, attended the event to sell his specialty pickles. He often sells them at local fairs and festivals, and even distributes them in local stores and service stations.
Some of his most popular pickles include the Garlic Lover, which is pickled with two tablespoons of ground garlic, giving them an extra garlic-y flavor.
He started making pickles in 2015 when his son gave him a pickling kit as a birthday present. Since then, he has given them away to family and friends, and started selling them.
“A lot of hard work,” is what he owes his success too. “People keep re-ordering them…We sell to independent owners and allow us to put them on their shelves, because their customers repeat buy.”