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Franklinton Fun (Pt. 1): 400 West Rich Winter Market and Festivus! 2014

400 W. Rich Winter Market sandwich board, and all the goodies
we got with our own Festivus Swig Bag
The holiday season here in Columbus is no stranger to community happenings, and the up-and-coming Franklinton neighborhood was home to several of these events this December weekend. Holding the distinction of Central Ohio's oldest established town, Franklinton's fortunes have been historically adversely affected by its location on a floodplain (the area has been derogatorily referred to as "The Bottoms" over the years.) A formal Federal declaration to declare nearly the entire region as such in the early 1980s eventually fixed the recurring flooding problems (the construction of the area floodwall was completed in 2004) but led to a slow decline in population and abandonment of property when a concurrent halt to new construction was put into effect for that time period.

Recent efforts to revitalize the neighborhood have been steadily progressing, enough so to get national attention. The Atlantic, the prominent monthly magazine originally established in 1857 in Boston, featured the Franklinton neighborhood in a series of stories about the Columbus region overall:

The facility at 400 West Rich is one of the main cogs of this effort to effect positive change to the area. While we had dropped by their Farmers Market before, we had not previously had a full viewing of the property that was provided by the fourth annual Festivus! event provided event-goers this weekend. Accompanied by a friend from out of town with Columbus ties, we were pleased to find a much more vast expanse (the space contains 100,000 square feet of space) than we had ever figured and the bastion of creativity that resides in the studios contained within.

We found the Farmers Market bustling in its space next to Strongwater Food and Spirits
Coffee was in plentiful supply, with the folks from the Short North's
Mission Coffee and Olde Towne East's Upper Cup Coffee in house. 
Aromaku's Indonesian-styled eats, along with many vendors toting
holiday and other baked edibles, were around to feed the masses. Plenty
of human activities to burn off calories were also around in the form of a
kids' area, yoga classes, as well as a performance by Movement Activities
This was a theme of the day: there really was a lot more to be found
simply by wending through the maze of hallways of 400 West Rich

Between the regular Market and the Festivus events, there were plenty of
intriguing goods available for event-goers. I ended up with a nice little
leather mini-wallet from the folks at Open Hand Leather Goods.
Art?  Festivus had plenty of examples for sale and display this day. If you couldn't
find something that appealed to your senses, you weren't trying hard enough.
This enthusiastic event volunteer touted to us the benefits of the event Swig Bag.
Besides a natty tote designed by Sarah Pierce, the bag contained products and
discounts from numerous Columbus area businesses. All proceeds from the event
went to Gladden Community House and the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.
All-in-all, it was fun to simply wander about and not only view the numerous
examples of creativity, but also examine the facility's nooks and crannies.
It was quite evident to see how far this space has become simply
by looking at parts of the facility which have not been renovated.
400 West Rich
Farmers Market and Festivus! 2014
400 West Rich (Franklinton)
Columbus, OH 43215

400 West Rich Facility Links
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