BIG HORN — Collette Eliason and her family have owned the Big Horn Mercantile in Big Horn since it first opened in 1882 and the family, along with local business owners, is hoping to bring a little life back to the area with the Big Horn Marketplace.
Eliason started the Big Horn Bash back in 2001, and the event has since turned into Big Horn Heritage Days.
With a piece of land next to the mercantile un-occupied, Eliason wanted to take advantage of the space this year for Big Horn Heritage Days, by turning it into the first ever Big Horn Marketplace.
“We wanted to start utilizing that land more, and do something in the future with it, like flea markets,” Eliason said. “I’m excited because right now I have about 13 vendors.”
Among those are a shabby-chic furniture stand, local produce vendors and a bunch of kids activities including face painting, a snow cone machine, lemonade and pastry stands and a corner for art and crafts.
Besides just putting a piece of land to good use though, Eliason wanted to bring people out to the community so that they could see what all it has to offer.
“It’s so funny because I’ll say ‘the Big Horn Mercantile’ and people will say, ‘you mean, in Dayton?’” Eliason’s mother Holly Harper said. “It’s nice to remind everybody that we’re out here.”
Todd and Candace Swanson own the business at the mercantile and have run it for a little over a year now.
The Swansons took over after a right-place, right-time scenario that included Eliason’s family approaching the couple.
The Swansons said they hope the event will draw more than just tourists to Big Horn.
“Hopefully this will draw up more local people,” Todd Swanson said. “The summer business is big, but it’s mostly (from) people that don’t live here. We want to see locals come out.”
Swanson added that without local support, businesses tend to fail.
The market will run from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Aug. 30 and the Big Horn Smokehouse will feature live music to celebrate Big Horn Heritage Days both Friday and Saturday night.
Eliason said that Doug Meier, the owner of the smokehouse, has also done a lot for the community with his business helping to encourage people to come out and discover Big Horn.