Just on the outskirts of the beautiful Mohican State Park lives the home of the Prairie Peddler Festival. It is hard to believe that we’ve lived in North Central Ohio for nearly 6 years, but only visited the Peddler for the first time last year! We enjoyed our day exploring the many craft booths, catching up with old friends, and making some happy fall memories. Since it was our first visit, I had a lot of questions about the Festival, but couldn’t find many answers online. I hope this post helps you plan your first visit to the Prairie Peddler.
Things to know before you go
The Prairie Peddler is an outdoor crafts and food extravaganza that’s been taking place in the hills of Butler, Ohio since 1988! The event is held each fall. In 2023 the dates are September 23 & 24 and September 30 & October 1. Admission is $10 for adults and kids over 13. The cost is $3 for children 6-12.
For those visiting the Prairie Peddler, I recommend bringing cash! Not all of the vendors use credit cards and even if they do, service can be spotty.
Be patient when arriving during busy times. If you plan to arrive between 10 & 2, know that the parking lot gets very busy! Based on my experience, you would be better off coming after noon and staying until closer to 5. When we left around 3, the parking lot was less than half full. We saw people trying to exit the parking lot around 12:30 pm and it was not easy for them!
We followed the advice of the Prairie Peddler website and chose to enter via the second entrance (this is available for eastbound traffic). I’m not sure if this saved us much time, but it did route us off busy SR 97. There is a lot of signage leading to the event, which is very helpful! I recommend whatever way you come, to drive slowly and watch for stopped traffic as many of the locals capitalize on the weekends by holding garage sales.
Tips for visiting with kids
Kids are welcome at the Prairie Peddler, but there are some things you should know before you go!
The Prairie Peddler really isn’t a great place to bring a stroller- it is hilly and there is quite a bit of gravel. If you have a jogging stroller you’d be ok, but anything with smaller wheels I would leave at home.
To keep the little ones busy, there is a Kid Zone. We watched a cute (and free) magic show. However, we didn’t join the line for the face painting because it was $15 per child. 😱
The nursing and changing station is located near the back food court called the Homestead. The only toilets are porta-johns so plan ahead. I’m glad I threw some baby wipes in my purse for sticky and dirty hands.
There are numerous food options that kids will like. Our family highly approved of the maple popcorn and the fresh french fries. Some of the local Lions Clubs were offering more affordable options including cans of pop and bottles of water for only $1 each. You aren’t allowed to bring in any outside coolers.
The best part of the day was the pony rides! At only $5 each, these are a steal!! They are located near Gate 3. Parents must sign a waiver before their child can participate! Our youngest just turned 3 and she was also able to ride.
My honest review of the Prairie Peddler Festival
A few people messaged me on Instagram to ask how I liked the Prairie Peddler and if I would return. Here are some thoughts.
The Festival is definitely one of those that oozes the best parts of fall in Ohio – cooler temps, outdoor events, and plenty of awesome fair food. That said, I’m always a bit salty when I pay an admission price to shop! I know these types of festivals take a lot of manpower to run, but paying any admission price for my kids seems a bit absurd. Am I being too stingy?
My husband and I talked about whether we would return again. He said he would definitely return again for the food. (I’m shocked! Ha)! There were lots of things we wanted to try but didn’t want to wait in line because we had to leave at a specific time. We’d probably go back for the ribbon fries — they looked that good! But paying $20 to get in to try some food seems a bit mad.
I think it would make a fun day out with my mom and my eldest daughter. If we had more time to spare we could relax and enjoy all of the different displays. It was so crowded on the day we attended (opening day) and getting through all the people with 4 children felt a bit stressful!
The Prairie Peddler is located at:
No pets are allowed at the festival.
Have you been to the Prairie Peddler?
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