Wednesday, September 12, 2012


MARION, OH – The Downtown Marion Market was off a week due to the Marion Popcorn Festival, but will resume this Friday, September 14. Markets will run from 4 – 7 p.m. every Friday through October 12.

In what is described as an open air market atmosphere, vendors set up on the sidewalks beginning at the corner of Main and Center streets near the Ohio State Bank and former PNC Bank locations and move west on Center Street. Setting up on the sidewalks, organizers felt, would leave plenty of parking spaces on the street open for those coming to the Downtown Market.

“This has been fairly successful for a first-time venture,” said Karen Herr, manager of Downtown Marion. “We decided to include anything handmade, homemade or homegrown and that has given the Downtown Marion Market a nice variety with something that interests most everyone.” According to Herr, vendors’ wares include tomatoes, sweet corn, melons, honey, green beans, pies, breads, pumpkin breads, jewelry, quilts, noodles, cookies, scent tarts, hair accessories, mums, Amish rugs, and even hula hoops.

According to Herr, in the past Downtown Marion was the place to be on Friday nights … the streets were packed with both shoppers and social events. “We can’t totally recreate that atmosphere from the 1950s or ‘60s,” said Herr, “but what we can do is provide a venue to encourage people to come and experience Downtown Marion as it is now. It’s come a long way in the past 10 years and we want people to have a share in the revitalization of Downtown Marion.”

Herr noted there are a variety of restaurants within a short distance of the market, including Baires and Maury’s on Main, both on South Main Street, The Candy Shack & CafĂ© inside Charleston Place, Infinity in the historic Harding Hotel, and the Warehouse located in the former inter urban railway building on West Center. She also indicated that many of the stores will be having sidewalk sales, as well. “You can come early,” said Herr, “and visit Heritage Hall and the Wyandot Popcorn Museum … then visit the market … do a little shopping … grab a bite to eat ... and top off the evening by going to the Palace Theatre as there is generally an event or movie most Friday evenings.

“My mantra has been, ‘Where you eat, shop and play matters … do it locally,’” said Herr. “The Downtown Marion Market provides the perfect opportunity to do all three.”

For further information, or if you are interested in becoming a vendor, call Herr at 740-382-2181 or event coordinator Cindy Charpie at 740-361-2940. Downtown Marion, Inc. is a non-profit organization whose mission is the revitalization of Downtown Marion as a vibrant central hub for the community.

"Where were you when the world stopped turning" is a song by Alan Jackson that epitomized the myriad of feelings Americans felt in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I don't think I fully comprehended the horror that my grandparents felt on December 7, 1941 until that day. And like Pearl Harbor or the Kennedy assassination, it's one of those events that you'll always remember where you were and what you were doing when you first heard.

For me, I was getting ready for a presentation I had to make at 10. I'd turned on WMRN-FM for some background music and heard Scott Shawver saying that if you were near a television, you should turn it on. It wasn't only the extremeness of having a radio announcer tell you to turn on your television that caught my attention, but the solemness of his voice that held a slight break as if he was hurting. And then I turned on the television ...

Jacque Laipply
I thought of that this morning as I listened to Jacque Laipply on the radio with Jeff Ruth. She was living and working in Manhattan then, along with her brother who worked in Tower 5 but regularly had meetings in Tower 2. He'd left his mother a message here in Marion after the first plane struck that he was okay because he was in the "other tower". Then the second plane hit and the phone service in Manhattan went down for hours. I can't even imagine what Ron and Effie went through wondering if the "other tower" was Tower 2 or even Tower 7. Thankfully, both of their children.   For many others, however, that was not the case.

So as you complete your work today and head for home, take a moment to reflect on that day. Make sure your children understand the importance of September 11 and of the sacrifices by so many firefighters, police officers, and others who died. But most importantly, as Alan Jackson so eloquently paraphrases from the book of Corinthians, "Faith,hope and love are some good things He gave us...and the greatest is love."
Take a moment tonight to hug your family and tell them you love them. 


Karen Herr
Manager, Downtown Marion, Inc.
205 West Center Street, Suite 130
Marion, OH 43302

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Festival Notes: The Downtown streets will be closing at 6:00 on Tuesday (today). Most of East Center Street, and the cross streets, will close at 5:00 
Marion Festivalp.m. on Thursday for the parade. If you are coming Downtown after that time and don't wish to get caught in parade street closings & traffic, I suggest you come into the Downtown from the north or west. I've attached a Festival schedule of events (the only thing not on it is the Cornhole Tournament which takes place on Saturday ... if you have any further questions or need additional information, please go to
Marion MidwayThe Marion Popcorn Festival will be popping into Downtown Marion this week for the 32nd time. I’d like to invite everyone to come and enjoy the festivities. While you’re Downtown for the Marion Popcorn Festival, I challenge each and every one of you to stop into a business you’ve never been in before. There is a wide variety of things to choose from … lots of OSU items, stained glass, jewelry, coffee & tea, musical instruments, clothing, books, Christian items, art, kid’s clothes, dolls, bicycles, pocket knives, depression glass, antiques, and great restaurants (see below). Be sure to visit the Wyandot Popcorn Museum located in Heritage Hall, or stop into the Palace Theater’s box office to check out their upcoming season.

Local Restaurants open during Festival: While there will be plenty of great fried food at the Festival, these wonderful Downtown Restaurants will be open for your eating pleasure:
Baires = Wednesday, Thursday & Friday, 8:15 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Candy Shack & Cafe' = Wednesday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Thursday - Saturday, 7 a.m. - 5 p.m. Infinity = Wednesday, Thursday & Friday, 11 - 2 & 5 - 9; Saturday, 5 - 10 p.m. Maury's on Main = Wednesday - Saturday, 8 a.m. - 11 p.m. The Warehouse = Wednesday, Thursday & Friday, 11 - 3 & 5 - 9; Saturday, 5 - 10 p.m.

Brief Festival History. If you are old enough to remember 1981, Marion was in the midst of a major economic downtown. Factories were closing, jobs were leaving, and you could hear people ‘joking,’ “The last one out of town, please turn off the lights.” The original Festival committee was made up of local businessmen, community leaders and the mayor. Their goal was to throw a festival that would be a positive for the Marion area, something that would boost the morale of the entire community. Then they took it one step further and decided to do something that every year would put the name of our community on the map by providing big name entertainment on a stage in Downtown Marion free of charge.

Wow! Think about that. They put the original Festival together in few short months – a process that now takes nearly a year – and set in motion a legacy that still benefits our community today. Now the second largest festival in the state and the largest popcorn festival in the world, I believe the original goals have been met in spades. Every year the entire city looks forward to seeing who’s coming to the main stage, who won the queen’s contest, what’s on the Showcase Stage or what food to eat. We often meet friends – and sometimes extended family – that we haven’t seen since the last Marion Popcorn Festival. And the Festival has definitely put Downtown Marion on the map. It’s been featured on three national networks and on radio stations, newspapers and magazines across the nation. We’ve had visitors from Scotland who came to Marion to not only see their favorite act, but to experience life in a typical American city. College roommates strewn across the country – with no ties to Marion – have met here during the Festival … and many of the entertainers themselves have walked the streets of our Downtown blogging positive words thereafter.
Remember ... where you eat, shop, and play matters ... please do it locally!

Karen Herr
Manager, Downtown Marion, Inc.
205 West Center Street, Suite 130
Marion, OH 43302