Note: In a previous version of the story we published the incorrect address for the event. We have updated this story to now include the corrected one.
MONTAGUE – Hoping to “showcase the talents of those who are local in the area,” Teresa Wackernagel shares the plans for the Spring Extravaganza at The Garden Shed in Montague on Friday, May 7 and Saturday, May 8.
“I happened to notice other places were doing events.” She continues, “and thought, ‘that’s kind of neat. Why not try and do that here?’ I think there’s a lot of talent, and they don’t all have storefronts like I do. Let’s try and showcase some talent that’s right in our area.”
From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, the Spring Extravaganza will do just that, enabling a number of local artisans to display and sell their crafts – a limited number in the Garden Shed itself, and others outdoors in booths or under tents.
Located at 7895 s 44th Ave. in Montague, the Garden Shed is ready to welcome those who love to shop and buy gifts for themselves or for family and friends during the Extravaganza.
The Spring Extravaganza is being promoted on the Facebook page for The Garden Shed in Montague, and through flyers being distributed around town. In addition, the Wackernagels joined the Whitehall Chamber of Commerce, and the Chamber will send information via e-mail to its members.
Details on the artisans who will be participating are available on the Garden Shed’s Facebook site. Among them are family members of the Wackernagels, including their daughter Janna and her husband Shawn Dean who co-own and operate Mammoth Ironworks.
As a blacksmith, Shawn makes unique handmade items such as forged knives and hammers, shepherd’s hooks, and bottle openers. “He’ll be bringing his equipment to forge some items right here,” Teresa notes. Further, Janna has a companion business called Lyuba Body Works and makes soaps, lotions, scrubs and more that she will have on-hand.
Wackernagel Creations is run by another son, Ryan, and his partner Heidi, and makes soy candles and jewelry, as well as string art that will be offered at the Extravaganza. According to Teresa, Heidi had a stressful IT job and fell in love with making crafts.
“She found her love and passion in that,” Teresa explains, “and quit her job to do this.”
Teresa’s husband Dan, who worked as a mailman in North Muskegon until his retirement, has also been bitten by the family’s handmade crafts bug. Under the name Whiskey Creek Woodworking, he creates a variety of wood products.
Having started out making frames for Teresa’s art, he now makes tables, lanterns, birdhouses and benches, with some made out of 100-year-old wood that he has salvaged.
Teresa, herself, will present baked goods, as she has made these for a long time in her certified commercial kitchen in their farmhouse and has sold them at the local Farmers Market. She also creates art that is sold at the Garden Shed year-round and will be available for purchase at the Extravaganza.
Other vendors include Semelbauer Farms, which has offered jams and canned delicacies at the Farmers Market for years. Heidi Lombard, who learned to do her beautiful sewing from her grandmother, makes darling little girl’s dresses and ladies’ robes that she sells through Violet’s Closet (named after her daughter who now sews with her).
Lombard will also bring in eggs from her farm, as well as the jams and maple syrup she makes.
Lake Effect Apiaries will market honey from their local hives, while Lifestyle Designs will provide vinyl key chains, tumblers, coffee mugs and pens decorated with glitter, ink, decals and crystals. Color Street will apply no-dry nail polish on-site, and there will be handmade purses, cutting boards in the shape of the State of Michigan, acrylic jewelry by Rebecca Steinbrook, and knitted animals made from real hand-spun angora from bunnies raised for a 4-H project.
And, Teresa reports, “There might be a few surprises. People are coming to me with their things. This started out with me and my family, and it grew.”
In this regard, she encourages people to keep checking the Facebook page because it seems like nearly every day, someone else hears about the Extravaganza and wants to show their work at this event.
So, just envision tents and booths all over the farm property, with artisans manning their individual stations. Dan will be directing traffic for parking and, as the event has grown, Teresa decided she definitely needed to order a porta-potty for the comfort of the many she hopes will come and enjoy the Spring Extravaganza.
“Hopefully, the event will be safe for everyone,” Teresa says. “We’re conscious of the whole Covid thing, so I will ask people to wear a mask in the shed and allow no more than three people inside at a time. The rest is outside.”
The Wackernagels’ business at The Garden Shed has been operating for 15 years.
“It started when I was baking for the Farmers Market as ‘The Farmhouse Bakery’,” Teresa recalls. “Then, someone suggested that our garden shed would be a cute place to sell my baked goods from.”
So, she painted and decorated a part of the shed with some of her art, while Dan continued using half of it as his tool shop. Soon, people came in to purchase baked goods, and they wanted to buy things she had made right off the walls. So, she laughs, “I kicked Dan out! I figured out more creative crafty things, and he started doing his woodworking. And we have the gardens, vegetables and flowers that we sell. But it’s been growing into more handcrafted goods.”
The Garden Shed usually operates May 1 to the end of October, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, with Saturday hours from 1–6 p.m. as they’re at the Farmers Market on Saturday mornings.
Asked what she enjoys about the business, Teresa remarks, “The best part is the people, meeting people and showing what we love, this land and what we’re doing.”
People learn about the Garden Shed mostly by word of mouth or by re-postings on Facebook. “People come, and it’s peaceful – not high traffic, and they are often surprised by all the treasure they find when they come down a dirt road.”
She reiterates, however, that the Spring Extravaganza is really about all the other local artisans and giving them a chance to show the beautiful work they’re doing. She says, “We really hope to encourage people to shop local and support small businesses in the area.”