More than music booms during Middlewest Fest


Genevieve Schatz, lead singer of Company of Theives, sings the lyrics to one of their songs on Saturday at the Egyptian Theatre, 135 N. Second Street, during this year’s Middlewest Fest.

By Dave Gong

Middlewest Fest 2011 provided more than music and entertainment in downtown DeKalb for local business owners.

Several businesses took advantage of the weekend’s festivities to promote sales to festival-goers and customers wandering the downtown area. Bliss Beads, 161 E. Lincoln Highway, set up a tent in Van Buer Plaza and sold handmade silver, gems and glass to festival-goers.

Allison Johnson, owner of Bliss Beads, said all of the jewelry for sale was made at Bliss Beads.

Lauren Woods, owner of Cracker Jax, 118 N. Third St., said she enjoyed seeing the crafters selling their wares at the festival.

“It’s all really interesting and unique,” Woods said.

Cracker Jax held a sidewalk sale Saturday, and will hold an ongoing sale offering 20 to 50 percent off of clothing, as well as 20 percent off of jewelry sold at the store.

“We have had a lot of good traffic this weekend,” Woods said. “Business has been better this year than last year.”

Moxie, 230 E. Lincoln Highway, also held a weekend sidewalk sale, said store manager Courtney Wilson. The items featured during the sidewalk sale were about 50 percent off, she said.

Wilson said even though the weekends are typically the store’s busiest times, there was a lot of foot traffic in the store during the festival.

“There have been a lot of nice groups of people this weekend,” Wilson said. “It’s been a really nice crowd.”

John Rapp, owner of No Strings Attached, 248 E. Lincoln Highway, said his store was busier this weekend due to the festival.

“We’ve had a lot of band members come in to get some stuff,” Rapp said. “It’s been a similar increase [in business] as last year.”

Stacey Chilton, owner of Chilton’s Sporting Goods, 250 E. Lincoln Highway, said while he enjoys the idea of Middlewest Fest, he wasn’t notified of the festival by organizers or promoters.

“I would have liked to be in on it,” Chilton said. “Communication was just bad.”

Most store owners said they enjoy having the festival in the downtown area and are grateful of the business the festival brings in.

“I love it, it’s really nice to see all the people,” Wilson said. “I love the commotion.”

Rapp said Middlewest Fest is better than some other events held in DeKalb that do more harm than good to local businesses.

“Having Corn Fest at the airport does more harm than good,” Rapp said. “And the garage sale at the Convocation Center takes up business from local shops.”

Johnson also said she thinks Middlewest Fest is a great thing for DeKalb.

“Anything fun happening is a great thing for the town,” she said.