PREVIEW: Indiana Artisan Marketplace

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March 31 marks the opening day of the second annual Indiana Artisan Marketplace, and we’ve been doing our research to find out what to sample and who to meet. Here is what to expect from the shopping event featuring 100 artists and food artisans, including New Day Meadery, Chocolate for the Spirit, Pierogi in a Pinch, Capriole Cheese, and Chateau Thomas Winery.

In its inaugural year, 5,000 guests piled into The Expo Hall at the State Fairgrounds, causing sold-out booths and long lines in the food and wine sample area. Jen Schmits Thomas of JTPR Inc., the PR firm handling the event, says this year’s will be a little smoother, and the team is ready as ever.

But are you? It may seem obvious, but remember to cash up. There is always one killer vendor who doesn’t accept plastic, so eliminate the pesky on-site ATM fee (and long line of forgetful folks) and bring plenty of green. Also, have $5 for parking ready—and make sure you’re prepared to walk. The Expo Hall is in the southwest corner of the Indiana State Fairgrounds. It’s best to enter on 38th Street or Fall Creek and get as close to Gate 6 as possible. And unless you want to hand over cash at Booth 423 for a Marketplace-branded tote, bring your own.  

Although the 100 vendors prepare as best as possible, they do run out of their best sellers. So go early (doors open at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday) and check out the online program to map out your shopping. Notice they’ve spread out the food and wine throughout, so it should be much easier to move around.

IM will b-line it to Best Chocolate in Town (Booth 115), as Elizabeth Garber is debuting two new truffle flavors: Cabernet balsamic and port wine-and-fig. And we’ll stop by Hoosier Momma’s (Booth 513) to congratulate Erin Edds on her recent feature on Time.com. We’ll also sample her brand-new Key Lime Margarita and Strawberry Rhubarb Margarita mixes. Tough job. To bypass the expected long line for gourmet marshmallows at 240sweet (Booth  510), we’ll get there early to find out what 240sweet flavor will be featured in the April issue of O, The Oprah Magazine.

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