Red Barn Arts & Crafts Festival provides community

Once a year, artists, food trucks and performers gather to give community members a taste of the arts. 

The annual Kirksville Red Barn Arts & Crafts Festival is in its 47th year. This year had 73 exhibitors, up from last year’s approximate 65, said Dwight Buckingham, who was in charge of the information booth this year. 

Red Barn is put together by the Kirksville Arts Association. Buckingham said he has been on the committee for Red Barn for about 30 years and has previously been the chair and adviser of the festival. 

Buckingham said the turnout had been amazing this year. 

“It really hasn’t let up since we opened at nine o’clock this morning,” Buckingham said. “You can tell a lot of them are from Truman since it’s Parents’ Weekend which we always appreciate.”

Everything went smoothly, Buckingham said, citing a huge crowd. 

Erin Skogsberg, from La Belle, Missouri, said this was her second year as a vendor at the festival. Skogsberg, who had a booth selling handmade goat milk soap, said there seemed to be about the same amount of attendees as last year. 

“I always enjoy it it’s always a fun thing,” Skogsberg said. “A lot of work, getting prepared for it and setting up, but it’s always enjoyable.”

The festival is not hard work just for the vendors, however. Buckingham said planning for the festival is a lot of work as well, with planning beginning in January and a minimum of one monthly meeting until the event occurs. 

The first Red Barn festival took place at the red barn on Truman State University’s campus in 1974, and it was moved to the downtown area several years later as it grew, Buckingham said. 

Freshman Chrystal Lee said she found out about the festival from her Student Advisor and really enjoyed it. 

“It’s very nice,” said Lee. “There’s a lot of community that is coming together it’s nice to see it. I feel like they really kind of support … Truman.“

“I feel as if the arts fair is one of the biggest things Kirksville does all year, and people really look forward to it,” Buckingham said. “We are so glad we are able to continue it after 47 years.”