CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Amid all the unhappiness and grumbling about this year's split and scaled down Vandalia Gathering, at least one entity ended up better off than in years past.
The state Culture Center gift shop sold twice as much merchandise on the Saturday of this year's Vandalia than it did on Saturday last year.
Over the course of the whole weekend, the gift shop sold about $850 more in merchandise this year than it did last year, despite the fact that Vandalia ran only two days this year instead of three, and the shop was virtually empty on Sunday.
The shop sold $7,400 worth of merchandise this year, mostly books and t-shirts, compared to $6,550 last year.
Sandy Eads, who runs the gift shop, said she was surprised at how busy they were over the weekend.
"We were doing the best we could to represent the artisans that weren't here," Eads said. "All of our artisans make over 50 percent of the money when we sell their things. That's why it's nice that we did well."
The West Virginia artists and craft vendors who normally sell their work on the Capitol grounds were left out of this year's Vandalia Gathering, as it was scaled down and many of the features and events were moved to the weekend of the sesquicentennial.
One possible reason for the shop's success was visitors didn't have any other place to spend their money this year.
Steve Little came to Vandalia this year, like he does every year, from Gallipolis, Ohio. Little told the Gazette at the time that he was disappointed because he didn't realize that the arts and crafts vendors weren't going to be there.
Eads estimated that at least 70 percent of the vendors who normally come will be at the second iteration of Vandalia during the sesquicentennial celebration on Saturday, June 22.
Gary Shaffer, who has been making his living as a potter for more than 30 years, will not be at the sesquicentennial.