At the Cross Roads: The Big Indoor Outdoor Fair

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This sign says “You have arrived!” Can’t miss it.
This sign says “You have arrived!” Can’t miss it.
This sign says “You have arrived!” Can’t miss it.

Article Contributed by
Walt Pickut

“A bad day outdoors is always a good day indoors for us,” said Mark Pouthier, market manager and charter member of Cross Roads Farm & Craft Market, located at 6017 Westfield-Sherman Road in Westfield, NY, now in its 19th highly successful season of operation.

Cross Roads brings together dozens of the region’s best crafters, finest artist and makers of all kinds and welcomes 50,000 enthusiastic shoppers to their three spacious 65 x 100-foot steel market buildings and scenic picnic pavilion every year. “Our pleasant, rustic setting never feels crowded,” Mark adds. Wide aisles, charming café seating areas and everything handicapped accessible make it a perfect shopping experience.

Cross Roads is a cooperative, owned and operated by the crafters and vendors themselves. Most vendors take credit cards and there is an ATM on-site. The market is open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from April 30 through December 17th and on Memorial Day, Labor Day and Black Friday.

Unique Crafts
Stephanie Larson-Green, Cross Roads board vice-president, visited Cross Roads one day to see the crafts after driving by many times and repeatedly promising herself to stop in. “I immediately fell in love with the place and set up my own booth, The Gypsy’s Trinkets, as soon as I could. I have been there ever since.” Stephanie is a self-taught, fused-glass artist who has been fashioning a stunning array of unique and beautiful glass creations for rings, necklaces, bracelets and more for over 20 years.

“Can you believe all these new vendors? And more will be coming soon,” Stephanie said. “It’s always so exciting to see who will join our Cross Roads family each season.”

One of the most unusual crafts on offer is the fine, old fashioned art of quilling. This craft creates delicate and artistic, 3-dimensional flowers, birds and abstract patterns, mounted and farmed, entirely hand-crafted and using only minutely and intricately folded strips of colored paper in many thickness.

The contrast with nearby vendors is bound to keep visitors interested. Features range from handmade Amish furniture to the Art Stop on the Hilltop, from Tupperware Home Parties to hand-crafted pottery and fairy gardens, and from hand-sewn clothing & finery to a used book booth where books are sold to browsers on the honor system. Each building is home to a dozen or more unique vendors.

Spices span the gap between crafts and food at Spice Harbor under the leadership of a second third generations running this visitor-favorite shop. The family of the late founders, Keith and Peggy Mills, now enter their 20th year at Cross Roads, counting year-1 at Not Exactly Cross Roads, the cooperative that preceded the current Market site. Spice Harbor features a wide array of every-day and exotic spices of all kinds, bread and biscuit mixes, corn breads, soups, more items for the microwave and new gluten free offerings.

Stephanie Larson-Green shows off her exquisite, hand crafted fused glass jewelry at The Gypsy’s Trinkets.
Stephanie Larson-Green shows off her exquisite, hand crafted fused glass jewelry at The Gypsy’s Trinkets.

Great Food
In addition to his duties as market manager, Mark runs the Snack Shack where he offers his signature ribbon fries, unlike just about any other kind. “They are cut continuously like curly fries,” he explains, “but flat like potato chips. Some people travel hours from out of state just to get more once they’ve tried them.” Visitors will find the Snack Shack just inside the door to Building 2 and right before the unresistible Fudge & Stuff.

“Never go hungry!” the Cross Roads website says. “Enjoy fresh bakery goods, ice cream, pizza, kettle corn, mouthwatering breakfasts, lunches and dinners, organic and seasonal local produce. Peruse our variety of bulk candy, sensational spices, cheeses and maple products.”

Cross Roads also has a license to sell wine by the glass as well as seating for wine tastings at the local winery booth.

Farm fresh eggs are back this season, along with hormone-free, antibiotic-free meat and livestock products. If the weather cooperates, fresh rhubarb may also be on offer.

Historic Location
The Cross Roads Farm & Craft Market is said to be situated near the site of an original settlement in Chautauqua County, along the historic Portage Trail atop a steep escarpment with breathtaking views.

Historians note that in 1749 Capt. Bienville deCeloron led an expedition of 720 men through the region cutting a wide passageway to transport boats by the shortest possible route from Lake Erie to the Ohio River. In Chautauqua County it extended from near what is now Barcelona Harbor to near Mayville on Chautauqua Lake. The wilderness trail they hacked out followed a simpler but far more ancient trail already well-known to Native Americans of the region.

Mark Pouthier, one of the Cross Roads co-founders and maker of the incomparable ribbon fries people travel far to find.
Mark Pouthier, one of the Cross Roads co-founders and maker of the incomparable ribbon fries people travel far to find.

Open Invitation
“We have four open craft shows a year where anybody can come in,” Market Director Mark said. “Normally we are a juried market for approve participants only, but for these craft shows we welcome everybody. Interested crafters are invited to call Stephanie or Mark at (716-224-5279 or (716-326-6278).

“Among the permanent exhibitors, we don’t allow competing, duplicate products, firearms, or anything that is not family-friendly,” Mark said. “A lot of us are here for the camaraderie of the wonderful people we rub elbows with,” Stephanie added.

“We do have a few open spaces,” Mark added, “and we would love to invite local communities to run fund raisers here, animal shelters to offer pet adoptions, local real estate agents and antiquers to set up a booth here or local non-profits to set up a stand to raffle tickets, quilts or whatever else they want to do for their cause. We also run annual benefits for a number of nonprofits and for that a charity of our choice. Events also include a cruise-in attracts 100 cars and 2,500 visitors every year, and a really great cook off.

Curious and interested indoor-outdoor market fans are invited to log on to http://www.thecrossroadsmarket.com/ and then visit in person.

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Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.