TIPP CITY — Hundreds flooded into City Park on Saturday to embrace the sunny weather and the return of the Tipp City Mum Festival.
The Mum Festival celebrated its 62nd year in the Tipp City community this year. While the pandemic last year forced many events to postpone to 2021, the Mum Festival persisted, holding a smaller-scale event with less vendors and booths. This year, the community celebrated it’s return with an appropriate theme — Return of the MUMmy Festival — and with it, everything from the Antique and Show Car Cruise-In and the Little Miss and Mister Mum contest. This years’ Mum Festival saw over 250 vendor booths showcasing art, crafts, food and everything in-between.
Madison Lee has been attending the Mum Festival for years with her parents, ever since she was a small child, but the 2021 Mum Festival was special — not just because it was returning in full force, but because she got to set up her own tent for her business, Stella & Grace Boutique.
“I definitely have a different outlook. I have an appreciation for the time and effort all of the vendors put in, doing the tent and setting up, tagging clothes, hand-making items. It all pays off, and it’s what I love doing,” Lee said.
Festivals like the Mum Festival are essential for Lee, who primarily sells for Stella & Grace online but is able to do pop-ups at events that draw crowds.
“It’s definitely a lot better. A lot of my stuff is online, so it’s a lot better to be able to communicate with the girls, and be able to pick out outfits with them — I love that interaction with them, and it’s what gives me joy to come to these pop-ups and not just be behind a computer packaging orders,” Lee said.
While the festival provides local vendors with a place to display and sell their goods, it also helps several local organizations reach out directly to the community and earn funds for the year. Boy Scout Troop 586 began their mum festival duties over August selling the painted mums that lined streets and driveways during the festival and kicked off their September painting the town. In total, they sold around 900 mums. For those who weren’t able to get a painted mum on their property, many flocked to their booth at the festival to purchase some homemade apple cobbler.
“Last year, we didn’t have the cobbler booth. We did sell the mums, but now we’re back out here, and everybody’s been getting the cobbler and is happy to get it back,” Assistant Scout Master Matt Hollon said. “The festival gives us a chance to get out there and be seen, that we are giving back to the community, providing services, and that we’re still here.”
For those attending the Mum Festival, an appreciation for its return was felt. Travis Fowler, a long-time Tipp City resident, has attended the festival as far back as he can remember and was at Saturday’s festivities with his wife and their two children. Aside from the joy of having the Mum Festival back, Fowler said that it’s amazing to him how much the festival has expanded over the last 20 years.
“It’s crazy how much it’s grown. Now you have to map out your route, Third Street is packed, the park is packed. It’s awesome,” Fowler said.
Kathy George had never been to the Mum Festival before Saturday, but drove from Riverside with her daughter and grandson to check out the festivities under the warmth of the September sun.
“It’s crowded, and there are lots of things here to see, and good food,” George said. “Festivals like these really bring the crowd, and we enjoy coming out to them.”