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Carson King slated for Corridor Market fundraiser

Solons Kelsey Swancutt organizing upscale holiday bazaar
Iowa State University fan and children’s hospital fundraiser Carson King addresses the camera during the filming of a promotional video for the Corridor Market Holiday Edition Sunday, Nov. 10, as event host Riley Mullane and organizer Kelsey Swancutt look on.

TIFFIN– When Kelsey Swancutt decided the University of Iowa’s Stead Children’s Hospital would be the beneficiary of Corridor Market’s annual fundraiser, there was one name that came to mind.
Carson King.
Swancutt, 31, of rural Solon, has been a primary organizer of the Corridor Market, which provides a shopping venue for local small businesses twice a year in the area.
“Every event, we try to do some sort of charity aspect,” she explained. “We use our market and the ability to get people together as an outlet for whatever charity we choose.”
In the past, Corridor Market has collected donations for area fire departments and has conducted blood marrow registry drives.
“This year we decided since this is our holiday market, we wanted to raise money for Christmas presents for kids at the University of Iowa’s (UI) Stead Children’s Hospital,” Swancutt said. “We thought what better way to do that than with the help of Carson King?”
King, 24, Altoona, was launched to national prominence after his sign seeking beer money appeared on ESPN’s “College GameDay” and went viral. The Iowa State University (ISU) fan received so many contributions he converted it into a fundraiser of the UI Children’s Hospital, eventually collecting $3 million.
“He thought it would be a great idea,” Swancutt reported.
The Corridor Market Holiday Edition will be held Friday and Saturday, Nov. 22 and 23, at the Bella Sala Event Center, 205 South Park Road in Tiffin.
King has been confirmed for an appearance Saturday, but Swancutt’s hoping to talk him into Friday, as well.
He will be situated in a photo opportunity area surrounded by Christmas trees, where visitors can drop their donated presents.
The market will also have a Venmo account set up through King to accept money for a fund to purchase Christmas presents for those children who will be spending the holidays in the hospital.
Cash donations will also be accepted, Swancutt said.
The holiday bazaar runs from 3-7 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. A $5 admission gets you in both days.
For $10 per person, early access is offered from 2-3 p.m. Friday.
“If people want to beat the crowd, they can have that hour and shop and walk around without too many other folks there,” Swancutt noted.
The Corridor Market Holiday Edition is a gathering of carefully curated makers and pickers, mostly from the area, supplemented by food trucks, live music from Zachary Freedom and hosted by premium DJ Riley Mullane.
The first 250 shoppers each day receive a free holiday edition tote bag and admission includes automatic entry for hourly giveaways.
Bella Sala has its own bar which will feature signature holiday martinis Friday and a Bloody Mary and Mimosa bar Saturday. Pop-up bars will be available in the event center.
Wineries and breweries will hand out samples and three different food trucks– Stone Wall Brick Oven Pizza out of Wellman, ZZnT of Coralville and Island Vybz Mobile Rasta-rant of Iowa City– will be offering fare. All of the food trucks will have a breakfast option on Saturday.
Swancutt developed the idea for the market with the help of her sister Lindsey Meade, also a Solon resident.
Formerly Kelsey Kidwell, she graduated from Solon High School in 2006 and from ISU in 2010 with a degree in criminal justice and sociology and a minor in early childhood development.
Her path took a different direction after she began an internship at the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigations headquarters in Des Moines. She became engaged to future husband Pat Swancutt and six months later they were married. A week later, she was pregnant with the first of four children.
“So, career plans changed a little,” she said.
Lindsey also returned to Solon after college, and she started her own business, Lindsey’s Stitchins, selling handmade children’s clothing and accessories like blankets and decorated sequined pillows.
Lindsey’s Stitchins paid to be a vendor at small arts and crafts shows, but they weren’t promoted very well, and didn’t draw many customers, Swancutt said.
While her sisters and mom are creative, Swancutt said she likes to work behind the scenes.
“I thought what better way to help her out, and other local businesses, than to try to throw together an event,” she said. “Within a few weeks, we put one together and we had over 600 shoppers come through.”
Now there are two Corridor Markets a year, the other in the spring, at rotating locations.
The first big one was held at the Celebration Barn, she said, while Rapid Creek Cidery, at Wilson’s Orchard, hosted the 2019 spring show. They’ve been as far away as the Midnight Farm in rural Maquoketa, owned by her friend Erin Kirchoff, who also does photography.
Kirchoff will be doing holiday mini-sessions at the market with a “super-cute” Christmas background.
Swancutt rebranded the Corridor Market several years ago to keep it from becoming identified as just an arts and craft show.
Her modern take on the bazaar mixes chic farmhouse-style with local custom vendors, sprinkling in food and drink with candles and jewelry and baby clothing.
“There’s such a variety that there is definitely a way to start and finish your shopping at this market,” she said. “There’s something for everyone on that Christmas list.”
One vendor a day is featured on the event’s Facebook page– Corridor Market Holiday Edition– where photos are shared, and the vendor offers a giveaway, usually shop credit.
There are a lot of local families and moms trying to make extra money by creating home retail businesses represented at the market, she noted.
One of those is Lyndsee Detra, whose Sew Many Wishes will be one of the vendors, offering custom hooded towels and other gift clothing.
Other vendors will feature home décor, candles, refurbished furniture, unique baked goods, essential oils, green cleaning supplies, handmade shoes, lotions, handbags, Cripple Creek Herbs, plants baby trees and succulents, beard balm and oil, ceramics and pottery and children’s clothing.
Some are mobile shops like Doe-A-Deer and The Cupcakery.
There are other similar events in the area, Swancutt said, but there weren’t when she started in 2015.
“I want this to be the area holiday event,” she said. “Not just an event where people go shop, but they’re going to go and have more of an experience. It’s not just about filling the shopping bags, or just checking off the names on a Christmas list, but they can also bring their friends and family and enjoy a meal while they’re there, or shop with a drink in hand and listen to live music. Much more of an experience than a quick shopping trip.”