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  • Writer's pictureKristin Guglietti

Pine Barrens Makers Fest holds second event

Kristin Guglietti/THG : Carlina Sacco and Patrick Bilazzo, owners of Pine Barren Pallet Works, organized the Pine Barrens Maker Fest

People bought handcrafted items, walked their dogs, enjoyed food from food trucks and more at the second annual Pine Barren Makers Fest, which was held at 3610 Nesco Rd. on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.

Carlina Sacco and Patrick Bilazzo ,owners of Pine Barren Pallet Works, organized the Pine Barrens Maker Fest.

“It’s a little rainy on the first day, but it’s going pretty well,” Bilazzo said.

The idea for the Pine Barren Makers Fest happened after a fire burned down the Pallet House they worked in at Mullica Township. The Pallet House was a shed that was like a mini store.

“We built that in my residential property and that was our little shed, little storage area and it was kind of like a mini store,” Bilazzo said. “And the Pallet House ended up burning down in 2021 and we tried to rebuild and in the middle of us trying to rebuild, Mullica Township didn’t want it to be rebuilt so we had all of the funds and donations that people donated for the rebuild, we put towards this event in order to bring the community together.”

Sacco said the community is what brought this event together.

“After the fire, it was very devastating, but the community picked us back up because we didn’t know what we were going to do,” Sacco said. “All of our things were in the fire, all of our stock so they’ve definitely picked us back up and we’re like ‘let’s keep moving and figure it out.’ We wanted to do something to give back to them and throw a big community event.”

A representation of the Pallet House was next to the information booth at the festival.

Sacco said she looks forward to seeing all the vendors with smiles on their faces.

“We’re vendors ourselves, so we understand all the hard work and dedication that goes into setting up an event like this,” Sacco said. “So for me, seeing them selling their goods that they make by hand and seeing smiles on their face and stuff like that.”

One of the vendors who came to the festival last year, Joey Vodopija of Trip 2 Glory, sold custom clothing items including jeans and flannels. He also creates custom phone cases.

“It was really good. It was my first outdoor big event and I honestly got to say it was amazing,” Vodopija said. “It was so much fun. I felt like at the end of the day I left with a big smile. I had so many good conversations, good encounters. It was really cool.”

Mariluz Nunez of Designz by Mariluz did the signs for the Pine Barren Makers Fest last year at The Sign Company in Waterford Works, and this year Nunez decided to be a vendor.

“We got cups, tote bags, coasters, key chains, jewelry, stickers. There’s a bunch of stuff,” Nunez said.

John Schroettner of D&J Unique Custom Creations sold custom wood products including clocks, charcuterie boards and coasters.

Schroettner heard about the Pine Barren Makers Fest on Instagram. He couldn’t make it to the first one, so he made sure to come to the next one as a vendor.

“Looking forward to a lot of good crafts; seeing what everybody else has to offer,” Schroettner said.

For food, the vendors included Sad Boyz who cooked smash burgers, Pirate Pete’s Soda Pop Company, The Original Banana Company, a kettle corn and funnel cake truck, Wholly Bowls, Matty G Dogz and Big Squeeze Lemonade.

While Patrick Bilazzo was running the festival, his mother Colleen Bilazzo worked at the Pine Barren Pallet Works tent.

“This is my son’s festival and we made a lot of stuff and we’re looking forward to selling it,” Colleen Bilazzo said.

Next year, the makers plan on having a spring event as well as the Pine Barren Makers Fest in the fall.


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