Madcap & Co. gives budding makers a home on North Queen Street

Madcap & Co., featuring exceptional handmade and vintage goods, will open Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, in the heart of downtown's shopping district, the 300 Block of North Queen Street.

Madcap & Co., featuring exceptional handmade and vintage goods, will open Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, in the heart of downtown’s shopping district, the 300 Block of North Queen Street.

LANCASTER, Pa. — Madcap & Co., featuring exceptional handmade and vintage goods, will open Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, in the heart of downtown’s shopping district.

Madcap & Co., a multi-merchant companion shop to BUiLDiNG CHARACTER, Downtown Lancaster’s largest retail store, opens at 310 N. Queen St., with 17 independent merchants, says Marty Hulse, BUiLDiNG CHARACTER and Madcap & Co. owner.

With the new store, Hulse said he is carving out an additional retail niche for the makers movement, which in recent years has gained popularity thanks to the renewed push for American-made goods and DIYers looking for an outlet to sell their creations. “There are so many talented craftspeople in the Lancaster area, and now they have a place to showcase their ingenuity.”

Madcap & Co. will open where the venerable Mommalicious served thousands of fans for nearly 10 years. Mommalicious will be a merchant inside Madcap along with 16 others.

Madcap & Co. will open where the venerable Mommalicious served thousands of fans for nearly 10 years. Mommalicious will be a merchant inside Madcap along with 16 others.

According to Adweek magazine, the makers movement is the umbrella term for independent inventors, designers and tinkerers. “Makers tap into an American admiration for self-reliance and combine that with the open-source learning, contemporary design and powerful personal technology like 3-D printers. The creations, born in cluttered local workshops and bedroom offices, stir the imaginations of consumers numbed by generic, mass-produced, made-in-China merchandise,” it writes.

BC has perfected its multi-shop retail management system in the eight years it has been in business on the 300 Block of North Queen Street, the city’s most desirable shopping district. Madcap & Co. will continue BUiLDiNG CHARACTER’s business model, giving multiple small businesses a brick-and-mortar retail store open seven days a week.

“The beauty is I don’t have to man a store all day long, which gives me more time to create,” says Cynthia Price, owner of Sanctuary opening in Madcap & Co., who already has a space at BUiLDiNG CHARACTER. “This is perfect for makers who are more creatively inclined and not as business saavy.”

Madcap & Co.’s new space was the former Mommalicious, a downtown Lancaster fixture for 10 years. Owner Alicia Byler couldn’t think of a better fit for the retail space in the building she owns and lives in with husband Dennis Snader.

Byler is excited to join such creative makers at Madcap & Co. and is appreciative of Hulse assuming the financial and time-consuming risks of operating an independent retail store. “There are a myriad of responsibilities that are being taken care of … even down to the rolls of toilet paper,” she says. “I know how much energy and money can be spent running a shop, and it’s great that Marty is willing to share it with others.”

Welcome to Madcap & Co. opening Sept. 4 at 310 N. Queen St. in Downtown Lancaster, PA.

Welcome to Madcap & Co. opening Sept. 4 at 310 N. Queen St. in Downtown Lancaster, PA.

The decision to open a second retail concept was a no-brainer for Hulse.

“When the opportunity to open a storefront right on the 300 Block of North Queen came to me, I had to say ‘yes!’ said Marty Hulse, owner of BUiLDiNG CHARACTER, which is nestled through a brick archway at 342 N. Queen St. “I love this block and am excited to add another specialty shop to the mix (on the block).”

The 300 Block of North Queen is also home to several other businesses that offer handmade works, including the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen, Art & Glassworks, Russell Locksmith, j.a. sharp Custom Jewelers, the Framing Concept and BUiLDiNG CHARACTER.

BUiLDiNG CHARACTER opened in 2007 selling primarily architectural salvage and by 2008 saw a need in the community to offer a collective for other like-minded entrepreneurs looking to sell vintage, recycled and handmade goods. Today there are more than 60 small businesses in various size retail spaces in the 10,000-square-foot retail location.

Like BUiLDiNG CHARACTER, known for its community-partnered events and lively music playlists throughout the store, Madcap & Co. also will be open seven days a week with extended hours for First Friday and Music Friday, the third Friday of the month which will feature the popular Ladies Night Out with free drink and dessert samples, free chair massages and local live music.

Step right up to Madcap & Co. opening Friday, Sept. 4, 2015.

Step right up to Madcap & Co. opening Friday, Sept. 4, 2015 at 310 N. Queen St., Lancaster.

Madcap & Co. will open with the following 16 merchants (one merchant is pending):

  • 40th Parallel Leather Goods, handmade leather bags and handwoven textiles by Peter and Laurie Eaton of Willow Street
  • B.N. Luna, handmade fleece blankets for newborns, infants and toddlers by Audrey Baxter and locally designed and printed whimsical canvas wall decor for baby and children by Heidi Herr
  • Deborah Sielski, assemblages from vintage salvaged materials reminiscent of flowers and foliage
  • Hello Niccoco, lighthearted hand-drawn designs by Nicole Duquette of Lancaster
  • Lake and Cabin, vintage and handmade home decor for your lake house, cabin or seaside abode by Micah and Holly Lessey of Lancaster
  • Madcap Mercantile, a collection of handmade greatness from near and far such as hand poured candles, handmade jewelry and wallets and bags made of recycled bicycled inner tubes
  • Miller Cast Products, collectible brass banks, trivets, wall art and figurines made in the City of Lancaster since 1887 by the J. Walter Miller Co.
  • Mommalicious, the venerable vintage and handmade goods dealer Alicia Byler of Lancaster
  • My Aunt Debbie, handmade pop-art-inspired jewelry, fashion and accessories by Debbie Serdy of Lancaster
  • Renaissance Chimney, vintage industrial pieces made from recycled materials by Mike Ellis of Bernville
  • Roaring Dog Studio, functional art for kitchen and home by Chris Clemans of Strasburg
  • Sanctuary, reinvented and repainted furniture, home decor and original paintings by artist Cynthia Price of Lancaster
  • Studioweit, handmade woven one-of-a-kind rugs and fiberworks mostly of upcycled cotton and flannel by Eric Weit and Kimberly McMullen of Millersville
  • Tortoise and the Hare, heirloom-quality handmade children’s clothing with a bit of whimsy and pinch of practicality by Rosina Lapp of Gordonville
  • Wise Oak Herbs, teas, salves, balms, powders, mists and rubs using the best organic and sustainably harvested herbs by Meeghan Orr and DJ Mercado of Lancaster
  • Wood ‘N’ Glass, creations of stained glass and handcarved wood by artist Deb Becker of Lancaster

Madcap & Co., which will have two full-time and two part-time employees, is the newest brand for the company which opened in 2007. Additional brands include Hip Thrift recycled brand name clothing, B.C. Martin’s Original and Authentic Hardware and WeLoveLanc.com line of souvenirs.

BUiLDiNG CHARACTER, LLC is a locally owned multiple-shop retail destination in Downtown Lancaster, Pa., that also serves as a business incubator for entrepreneurs, artists and craftspeople. Inside the store’s 10,000-square-foot, 115-year-old walls there are more than 60 shops offering vintage and collectible goods, handcrafted jewelry, upcycled furniture, recycled brand clothing, as well as the nonprofit Heritage Press Museum.

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JUST THE FACTS
What: Madcap & Co. handmade and vintage store
Where: 310 N. Queen St., Lancaster
When: Opening Friday, Sept. 4, 2015
Website: www.madcapandco.com; www.welovelanc.com
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 12 to 5 p.m. Sunday; until 9 p.m. first and third Fridays

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The Twists & Turns of the Jewelry-Making Team of SheCre8s

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shecr8es1FEATURED SHOP: Shecre8s

Shecre8s is owned and operated by wife-and-husband duo Barb and George Thompson of Horsham, Pa. Shecre8s specializes in handmade jewelry and art that is made from recycled vintage silverware. Their rings, bracelets, and necklaces are full of whimsical and unique designs. Each piece is jaw-dropping from their organic-flowing-structure to the gemstone-inspired creations. Whether your style is classic-chic, artsy-boho, or a little in-between you’ll find the perfect statement piece with Shecre8s wearable art collection. Here’s the inside look at Shecre8s artistically recycled world:

What is the creative process behind your designs? … more particularly the figures/statues, i.e., the artist and the “thinking man.”

All of the whimsical sculpture pieces are done by George as our attempt to recycle all pieces of the utensils that we cut. So the inspiration or suggestion to him was to do waiters/chefs who may have an interest to buy. At the shore shows we have done fisherman and in Center City Philadelphia we were doing a show in the Art Museum area and I suggested Rodin’s thinker since its such a recognizable classic figure in that area. Of course with George’s “classic” sense of humor he decided to put him sitting on two oval flattered spoons which gave the impression of a toilet. So he added a toilet seat back and called him “The Stinker.” So be it for “classic.”… But it sold immediately and then several were custom ordered for a plumbing business.

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Where do you find your silverware and what era of silverware is your favorite to find?
We learned that the best plated utensils to use for jewelry were made pre-1960ish. It was an “IS” process called inlaid silver. Most of what I turn into jewelry comes from the early 1900s and late 1800s. All other silverware we use as hooks, key chains, parts for sculptures etc.

We are now lucky enough not to have to spend so much time scouring yard sales and flea markets. A man who collects scrap metal brings me what he collects. I buy online when I am targeting certain pieces or patterns.

What is the process of bending and molding the shape of the jewelry? Why do you prefer not to heat the pieces for bending?

We found that heating to bend the silverware changes the final result in finish when I go to buff the piece. Although it was OK, I prefer a shinier finish which would be what the piece would have looked like originally. So George does 95% of the fork tine bending since he has more hand strength. But I hand hammer all bracelets and rings around a mandrel on a vise. The pieces go through many steps of sanding, (4 grits of sanding discs) shaping the ends after holed, buffing out as much of the surface scratches as possible, thoroughly washing, tumbling and hand buffing before the piece gets dressed with links, magnets, gems etc.

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How long have you been making jewelry and why silverware inspired pieces?

Once I was downsized (at my job) in 2012 I made beaded jewelry, stained glass, wire wrapping to stimulate the latent creativity that went untapped for so long as a way to decompress from years of corporate stress and a means to supplement my severance pay and bridge the gap between jobs.
The silverware jewelry became a much more interesting creative challenge for me and the whole repurposing idea was extremely satisfying. I feel blessed that so many people enjoy our creations and since it has been very successful for us we intend to continue fulltime (even though George WAS semi-retired due to health issues). We both have found new life, energy and satisfaction in our joint effort to support ourselves through retirement.

Favorite part about selling your pieces? 

Meeting the people face-to-face and come back to compliment us on how much they love it and appreciate the recycling of what would have been scrapped.

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If you could have one super-hero power what it be and why?
Spider-Man. As I age my joints and muscles prevent me from getting certain places, like on a ladder, climbing stairs and Spider-Man can get everywhere fast and efficiently!

Also not exactly a super power but “I dream of Jeannie”or “Bewitched” so I could just wiggle my nose and carry and move my product during show set up and breakdowns. They are brutal for us old folks.

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Visit SheCre8s 7 days a week inside BUiLDiNG CHARACTER, rear warehouses at 342 N. Queen St., Downtown Lancaster

Shecre8s social media: click the icons below

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A Russian-speaking photo dealer walked into BUiLDiNG CHARACTER and the rest is history

FEATURED VENDOR: Fotographiya

Erin Waters, owner of Fotographiya, brings her fair share of originality to BC.

Fotographiya specializes in vintage photography including snapshots, portraits, tintypes, and cabinet cards. You could spend hours rummaging through the vintage and beautifully preserved fotographs in her shop.  Her photos range from cute-and-quirky family photos to vintage postcards to down right creepy portraits. Waters’ shop has a timeless aura about it. Even if collecting photography isn’t your thing, checking out her vintage collection is certainly a must while at BC.

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How long have you been with BUiLDiNG CHARACTER?

Since August 2013

What type of items do you sell at your booth?

I am a professional photography dealer, so I primarily sell vintage photographs. I try to stock a variety of images like snapshots, cabinet cards, and tintypes at reasonable prices. I also have framed images ready to hang in a home, both in their original frames and in new ones. I also sell a line of new gift items created from vintage mug shots — coasters, cards, journals, and magnets. Also in my shop are photo albums, both empty and full of snapshots. I also have a selection of ephemera like advertising cards and Victorian scrap. Lately I’ve been making note cards made from vintage photographs as well as collages on larger canvases. My goal is to have something for everyone — decorators, artists, collectors, and people who just need a gift for a friend.

Your favorite thing about being a vendor/seller at BUiLDiNG CHARACTER?

Being part of a great store!

What made you want to start your craft/hobby/collection?

I’ve been living with vintage photos since I was a kid. My dad has collected daguerreotypes for nearly 30 years and while it took me a while to decide to join him and my brother as a dealer, it was pretty much inevitable. I’ve collected photographs since I was a little kid and until 6 years ago, I always was a dealer, just not full-time. I have a museum studies degree from NYU but while studying, I realized that what I really wanted to do was be a professional photography dealer.

 What other hobbies do you have?

I am an avid reader and co-run the Second Sunday Book Club here in Lancaster. I love to travel and take photos when I do.  I probably watch a bit too much TV. I love to swim. One of my favorite things to do is search for photos. Luckily, that’s what I do for a living.

Three interesting facts about you? 

I speak fluent Russian and lived in Yaroslavl, Russia for 2 years.

My favorite sport to play is water polo although I haven’t done that in years.

I am on the board of the Daguerreian Society.

If you could transport yourself to back to any time era, what year would it be? (or what is your favorite era of items to collect?)

Mid to Late Victorian. Of course, that’s when photography was invented. Whenever there is indoor plumbing, actually. Anything else is a deal breaker.

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Celebrating Earth Day!

Today BC had the opportunity to be a part of  Earth Day at the downtown Lancaster campus of Harrisburg Area Community College. We were very excited to share our love of recycling and reusing with the students, and mutually conscious businesses and organizations. 

We brought a small sampling of our eco-friendly items and expressed creative uses for recycling while giving materials a beautiful, new purpose! By supporting local businesses that practice green efforts you are also contributing to a more sustainable life and a greener planet!

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Hello spring, we’ve been waiting for you

Oh spring,

the warm air, the bright lovely colors, flowers blossoming, animals awakening, birds chirping, what’s not to love after this long cold bitter winter? I’m not sure about you guys but this spring could not come fast enough!

The great news is… while winter was bitterly cold and dragging on, vendors at BC spent their time indoors wisely. We are so excited about the new bright inventory arriving to go with this weather.

Don’t forget to stop in the shop for more exciting spring must-haves!

Here are some of our favorites for SPRING 2014.

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Featuring: Style Archeology, VintageLancaster, Cairtree,Night Owl Tiles, BeeBee’s All Natural

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Featured (left to right)Evolution Handmade by Handmade Mama- State of Gay Equality Pillows (Texas), sandraCycled (green left and far right), VintageLancaster (Holly Lessey Original Camera Design), The Sassy Tassel (7 book)

 

Everyone Loves a Sale

but what is better than just a sale?

A sale at your favorite one-stop-shop in Lancaster.

That’s right, our first Warehouse Sale of the year is approaching. Join us February 15-16-17 to get the best sales from some of your favorite vendors.

40th Parallel Fiber Studio & Leather Goods ~ 10% OFF shop
Artographs ~ 10% OFF shop
Barbers Artglass ~ 15% OFF shop
Bill’s Woodcraf ~ 10% OFF shop
Blueberry Hill ~ 10% OFF shop + marked down items
BUiLDiNG CHARACTER ~ 40% OFF hardware, salvage items, windows and doors; some exclusions
Cheap Frills ~ 20% OFF shop
Crystals Stones & Wire ~ 10% OFF shop + marked down items
Custom Canvas Prints ~ Marked down items
Debi’s Artistry ~ 20% OFF shop
Eclectic Collective ~ 10% OFF shop
Fotographiya ~ 10% to 20% OFF shop
Garden Party Soapworks ~ 20% OFF handmade
GlamTribale ~ 30% OFF shops
Handmade by Kanga ~ Marked down items
HiP THRIFT ~ 20% OFF Saturday, 30% OFF Sunday, 50% OFF Monday
How Baazar ~ 20% OFF shop
Isley Designs ~ 20% OFF quilts
J.P. McCaskey Art Club ~ 20% OFF shop
Love Letters ~ Marked down items
Next Door Home Decor ~ 10% OFF shop
Oi! Soy Candles ~
Opportunities ~ Marked down items
The Pink Peacock ~ 15% OFF shop
PlarnStar ~ 17% OFF both shops
Purple Giraffe ~ 30% OFF shop
Reclaimed Art ~ 15% OFF shop
Rejuvenated Furniture ~ 25% OFF shop
River Valley Music Collective ~ 20% OFF shop
SandraCycled ~ 10% OFF shop + marked down items
The Sassy Tassel ~ 40% off fabric bolts (full yard cuts only) + marked down items
Serendipity Gourds ~ Marked down items
Scrappy Bags ~ 10% OFF shop
SheCre8s ~ 15% OFF shop
Sisters ~ 10% OFF shop
Smilin’ Gal ~ 20% OFF shop
Sticks & Stones by Roxanne ~ 10% OFF shop
Style Archaeology ~ 15% OFF shop
Suite Spaces ~ Marked down items
The Vintage Vanity ~ 20% OFF shop
Sweet Sally Soaps ~ 15% OFF shop
Vintage Young ~ 25% OFF shop
VintageLancaster ~ 20% OFF shop; excludes handmade
WeLoveLancaster ~ 20% OFF shop
White Elephant ~ 20% OFF shop

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WAIT, the good news is not over….

Baron Von Schwein will be catering Saturday, Feb. 16, 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. outside in the rear parking lot of BC.

Don’t miss their amazing (sweet or spicy) pork roll buns.

Featured Vendor ~ VintageLancaster

ImageVintageLancaster is owned and operated by BUiLDiNG CHARACTER general manager Holly Lessey and husband, Micah. VintageLancaster features a wide range collection of handmade, upcycled, and vintage items. Holly and Micah have a great eye for rustic/industrial beauty, which is very evident in most of their pieces. You can also find specialty items featuring Holly’s photography, which includes greeting cards and pillows.

How long have you been with BUiLDiNG CHARACTER?

I have been with BC since February 2012.

Your favorite thing about being a vendor/seller at BUiLDiNG CHARACTER?

Just the fact that I can have a physical presence as a micro business in the community, in this community specifically, is amazing.  Without the kind of business model behind BC, people like me would only dream about having a local business.

What type of items do you sell at your booth? (How would you describe your items?)

Primarily vintage and some handmade or upcycled. I see it as urban industrial meets shabby chic.

What made you want to start your craft/hobby/collection?

I grew up with vintage things all around, except we didn’t call it that.  Mostly because of my dad and his mom, we used things around the house that were old, but they weren’t broken. In fact they lasted forever, so we kept using them.  My grandmother grew up through the Great Depression, so she was very frugal & took care of what she had.  In retrospect, I realize that she rarely bought anything new, but I don’t think she ever felt deprived. Mommom always said, even if it was time for giving gifts, “I don’t need anything” which is completely opposite of our consumer-minded culture.  Fast forward to me being a young married adult.  My husband and I were looking for a way to start a small home business. We realized maybe there was something to my affinity for vintage things that could generate a little extra income.  In 2010, VintageLancaster was launched initially as an ecommerce business only, through Etsy.com. Business was good, so we started looking locally for a place to put down roots.  That’s when we found BC. The rest, as they say, is history.

What other hobbies do you have? (Family, Friends, Reading, Swimming…) 

They say if you have a job that you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.  Our small business is my job and my hobby.  I enjoy the whole process from finding our vintage objects, photographing them, creating marketing materials, upcycling shabby objects and even creating new art with the photographs we take.  Most evenings are spent packaging orders, pricing new items, making magnets and cards and more. It appeals to every aspect of my personality, from the insanely practical and utilitarian to the beautiful and artsy.

Three interesting facts about you? 

I would prefer to wear flip-flops all the time and I HATE to wear coats. I prefer cold sweets and like to keep my cookies and chocolate in the freezer.

If you could transport yourself to back to any time era, what year would it be? (or what is your favorite era of items to collect?) 

Probably early 1900s-1920/30s — Art Deco & Art Nouveau periods of design are my favorite and seeing designs in transition between eras, where they’re changing slowly from Victorian to Art Deco to Art Nouveau.

—-Visit VintageLancaster 7 days a week inside BUiLDiNG CHARACTER, rear warehouses at 342 N. Queen St., Downtown Lancaster.—-

—You can find VintageLancaster on etsy by clicking the “VintageLancaster” picture above.—-

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Featured Vendor ~ Blueberry Hill

Featured Vendor ~ Blueberry Hill ~ Flair for the Heart and Home

BlueBerryHill-007Blueberry Hill—flair for the heart and home—is owned by Denise McDaniels and Erinn Rowe (mother/daughter) since April 2013. They sell quality, custom wreaths, flower arrangements, live potted plants, dishgardens, home décor, and seasonal and some vintage items.  Erinn also does event decorating for any occasion. You can see her work on their computerized photo album at the right front of their shop in Warehouse A at BUiLDiNG CHARACTER.

What made you want to start your craft/hobby/collection?

Erinn has always enjoyed doing something creative, and made many wreaths for their home while she was growing up.   Denise has many flower beds and houseplants at her home and enjoys the beauty plants add to a person’s living space.

Your favorite thing about being a vendor/seller at Building Character?

Denise loves seeing Erinn’s thoughts and plans become reality in her creations and store themes. BC gives Erinn a reason to expand, to grow, and to develop her creativity. She enjoys making something different that other people like.  Both of them appreciate the talent of the many vendors and meeting the customers when they are at Building Character. They both agree is a pleasant place to work and an inviting environment for shoppers.

What other hobbies do you have? 

Both Erinn and Denise are animal lovers. Erinn has two wonderful pit bulls and Denise has a German Shepard and numerous cats. Erinn likes to read about nutrition, health and exercise, enjoys movies and music, and going camping.   Denise volunteers much time to church-related activities, likes going for walks, riding bike, and gardening.  They both try to make as much time as they can to be with their husbands, families, and friends.

Three interesting facts about you?

Erinn is a kid at heart, stands up for pit bull rights (punish the deed, not the breed), and collects vinyl records.  She still uses her father’s 1970 stereo record player.  Erinn loves fall “hoodie” weather, her Shelby Mustang, shabby chic, and being an aunt. Denise can get lost for hours in a thrift store or flower shop searching for bargains or new ideas for plants.  She loves pretty cards of all kinds and mailing them to friends and really enjoys stories with feel-good endings and value messages.  Denise adores  her grandson and granddaughter who are children to her son Sean and his wife.  She is also happy to be a “grandma” to Erinn’s two pit bulls.

If you could transport yourself back to any time era, what year would it be?

Erinn and Denise both agree that they would choose the 1950s.  They could not decide on a store name until Erinn recalled all the times they watched “Happy Days” on TV and remembered Richie Cunningham singing, “I found my thrill on Blueberry Hill” each time he had a special date to take to Inspiration Point. Erinn and Denise “found their thrill”  being able to open the store together.

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(Photos taken by Holly Lessey)