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Springing back to life

Vendors set up near the Rotary Fountain in Ironton on Saturday as part of The Vault Market’s two-year anniversary celebration. (The Ironton Tribune | Heath Harrison)

Downtown events give Ironton its busiest weekend since pandemic began

It was a sight that has not been seen in downtown Ironton for some time on Saturday, as multiple outdoor events drew crowds for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

With vaccinations underway and cases dropping, the state has eased limits on outdoor activities. Last week saw the announcement that the Ironton-Lawrence Memorial Day Parade will return in full, while the Lawrence County Fair is planning to do the same in July.

Saturday’s events kicked off at the Ironton Farmers Market, which reopened last week for its eighth season, where, on the adjacent parking lot for the splash park, Ironton In Bloom was hosting a Mother’s Day flower sale for four hours.

Carol Allen, the group’s director, said they had a strong turnout for the sale, for which the proceeds will go toward the maintenance and purchase of flowers the groups plants in Ironton.

“It’s been great,” she said. “We’ve sold lots and lots — over 40 ferns. It’s been a good day and the weather is wonderful.”

Members of Scout Troop 106 assisted at Ironton in Bloom’s Mother’s Day flower sale on Saturday at the Ironton Farmers Market. (The Ironton Tribune | Heath Harrison)

For the sale, the group had assistance from Scout Troop 106, of Ironton.

“They’ve been so helpful,” Allen said. “They helped unload the trucks and carry things to cars, and now they’re helping take everything down. It’s a real public service.”

Later in the morning, vendors were set up on Center Street outside The Vault Market, which was hosting an event marking its second year anniversary.

While owners Abby Kuehne and Amanda Cleary announced the store would close May 24, they still decided to host the event, which brought in two food trucks, one from Dragonfly Outdoor Café, of Greenup, Kentucky, and Fat Boy Q, of Ironton.

Both were getting heavy business, with a line of customers stretched down the street, where people perused the booth of the local crafters and merchants.

But the biggest draw of the day took place at Spring on Vernon, organized by Cardinal Wishes and Treasures From the Valley.

Vernon Street was shut down, and more than 60 vendors set up tents on each side, selling crafts, clothing, antiques, food and more.

“I’m here with my sister,” Bulington Elementary school assistant principal Cassie Lunsford, said at a booth near the southern entrance of the event. “She does macramé.”

Across the street from them was Jeff Yamanaka, a West Coast native who now lives in Kitts Hill, who had a table of spoons, bowls and other woodworking items for sale under the name Middle of the Mountain Creations.

“I have two wood lathes and turn different bowls,” he said.

He said he’d seen a steady stream of customers for the event, which served as a first since reopening for many.

“And it’s nice to be out and about,” he said.

At the northern end of the street was Yvonne Sinnott, who was selling various items to raise funds for students at the Yvonne DeKay School of Dance, which she owns, to go to a competition.

Sinnott said, in addition to that, her students were preparing for their spring show, which will take place at the Paramount Arts Center in Ashland at 6 p.m. on June 2.

“It will be a showcase of dance routines,” she said.

The majority of the event took place outside, though both stores were open, as well as a yard sale at a shop set to open in the former Henthorn building at 321 Vernon St.

The event served as a fundraiser for Maker’s Market, which will offer space to local artisans to sell their wares.

Dick Fisher, one of its three owners said the yard sale was a fundraiser for the renovation of the building.

“The goal is to create a unique space,” he said. We’ll be renting space by the square foot and we’ll have a coffee house in the back.”

One group, comprised of Maddie Cogan, Xavier Osborne and Charlee Hass, was running two adjacent booths on the street.

“We’re vending for the Shake Shoppe,” owner Maddie Cogan said, and stated they were also doing outreach for Be Hope Church, which meets in the Ro-Na Theater on South Third Street. “And everyone has been overwhelming and positive.”

And not too far from them was Amanda Staton, of Ironton, who was selling clothing under a pink tent for her business, Eighth and Darling Boutique, located in Franklin Furnace.

She said it was her second time for one of the street events, having taken part in Pumpkins on Vernon last fall.

“It’s been going pretty good,” she said, enjoying seeing people active downtown again. “And it’s just kind of a relief to be able to be outside and not worry about being confined.”