Cyclops Fest’s independent streak

Fifth annual event celebrates DIY culture.

​Cyclops Fest seemed to appear out of nowhere in 2011 as a fully formed event dedicated to the do-it-yourself spirit that has long existed in the Miami Valley.

The celebration of music, handmade items and DIY (do-it-yourself) culture, returning to John Bryan Center in Yellow Springs on Saturday, Sept. 12, was an instant success.

“There are a lot of people out there that want to be their own boss,” said Cyclops co-founder DJ Galvin. “Small businesses and entrepreneurialship has definitely taken off in the past five years. If you go out, there are great art communities everywhere around the Dayton area. There are some really great artists around here that are just amazing.”

Cyclops began just before other DIY groups such as food truck operators, pop-up shop owners and craft beer producers began to expand locally.

“That’s where our store, Urban Handmade, came from,” said Galvin, who opened her shop at 241 Xenia Ave., Yellow Springs, in 2008. “People take great pride in what they make, and you can make a living doing it.

“It’s interesting to see that shift over the past five years, and it’s not just handmade goods, but look at the food trucks,” she continued. “It has blown up, and it’s wonderful because these are people that started from nothing and they don’t have to work for corporate America, which is great.”

In addition to DJ music, food trucks and a beer garden, the fifth annual event features an array of handmade items from vendors such as Rustic Apple Art, Preble Clayworks, Barmaid Soap Company and My Spin on Knit.

“When we do the jury process we look at everything and make sure it’s a well-rounded show,” Galvin said. “We consider not only how amazing their craft is or what they do, but we also want to have a nice mix of jewelry, apparel and what I like to call oddities, you know, weird things you wouldn’t necessarily put in the other categories.”

While most of the Cyclops vendors are local and regional artists, the festival attracts vendors from Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee and other states.

“It’s interesting, because the first few years we’d get a few new artists every year,” Galvin said. “This year we’ve got a ton of new artists, both locally and out-of-state. That’s really exciting because people will be selling so many different things. Since it’s a purely handmade show, we try to showcase as many unique things as possible.”

Cyclops runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., but arrive early because the first 50 purchasing customers receive a free gift. Admission is free.

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Contact this contributing writer at donaldthrasher8@aol.com.

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