Visit Fairfield County spotlights locally owned businesses through 'trails'

Nate Ellis
ThisWeek group
Jeremy Garrett, owner of Fat Baby's Popcorn, drizzles chocolate over the buckeye popcorn Feb. 9  Fat Baby's Popcorn, 1211 Hill Road North, is one of the businesses on the Visit Fairfield County Sweet Tooth Trail.

New “trails” and “staycations” developed by Visit Fairfield County seek to promote locally owned businesses and sights amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The pandemic has altered the travel plans of many and slowed several businesses throughout the past year.

But according to Jonett Haberfield, Visit Fairfield County Executive director, there’s still much to do and many locally owned businesses to celebrate.

“We’re a nonprofit organization, and our job is to promote the great things of Fairfield County,” Haberfield said. “We focus on the local businesses and all the other great and unique things we have to offer.

"The trails include businesses that meet the trail's theme (and) who are open to the public."

Information about Visit Fairfield County’s trails are available through its app at visitfairfieldcounty.org/visit-fairfield-county-app/.

Fat Baby's Popcorn, 1211 Hill Road North, not only offers a wide variety of popcorn, but also a variety of candy and other treats.

In November, Visit Fairfield County developed the FC Java Trail, which features eight locally owned coffee shops in Amanda, Baltimore, Lancaster, Lithopolis and Pickerington.

The list of shops is provided at visitfairfieldcounty.org/tag/fc-java-trail/, and progress on the trail can be tracked on the app.

“There’s a challenge and if you check off all the coffee shops, you can come to our office (158 W. Wheeling St., Lancaster) and get a gift,” Haberfield said. “It varies from candy to other coffee-related gifts.”

Visit Fairfield County this month launched its FC Sweet Tooth Trail, featuring 15 businesses in Amanda, Baltimore, Lancaster, Millersport and Pickerington. The lineup is available at visitfairfieldcounty.org/tag/fc-sweet-tooth-trail/.

Two businesses are on both tours: Porter’s Coffee House and Bakery, 194 W. Church St., Pickerington, and Provisions Bakery & Deli, 135 W. Main St., Lancaster.

“This is a collection of places around the county where you can get pastries, ice cream, popcorn, donuts, milkshakes, cookies and other baked goods,” Haberfield said. “They’re all locally owned.

“We try to promote our small businesses, especially during the pandemic.”

Among businesses taking part in the FC Sweet Tooth Trail is Fat Baby’s Popcorn, 1211 Hill Road North in Pickerington.

Fat Baby's Popcorn, 1211 Hill Road North, is one of the businesses on the Visit Fairfield County Sweet Tooth Trail.

Fat Baby’s opened last June and offers a variety of candied and flavored homemade popcorn, as well as candy and homemade fudge.

Owner Jeremy Garrett said the trail is a way for his business to reach new customers.

“I think it’s excellent,” he said. “It’s awesome.

“We rotate some flavors. We just came out with a Mint Cookie Crunch that’s inspired by the Girl Scouts’ Thin Mint cookies. I also did a Samoa flavor. So, we kind of have a Girl Scouts theme right now. It’s all crafted here in our store, and there’s always something new to try.”

Visit Fairfield County also is continuing a partnership with the Holiday Inn Express & Suites at 1861 Riverway Drive, Lancaster.

Through the partnership, a night’s stay is available for $99 if they take part in two of Visit Fairfield County’s three “staycations.”

Information about the staycations is available at visitfairfieldcounty.org/getaway-packages/. Reservations at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites also can be made by calling 740-654-4445.

One of the $99 packages encourages participants to visit each of the 17 original covered bridges in Fairfield County.

“We have the most original covered bridges in the whole state,” Haberfield said. “Some of them are over 100 years old and in their original locations.”

Another $99 package is a “Brewcation” that challenges participants to visit six nearby breweries, including ones in Canal Winchester, Carroll, Lancaster, Logan and Pickerington.

“You get a passport and you get those stamped at each stop,” Haberfield said. “It’s completely self-guided, but you could do something like three breweries one day, stay the night and then do the last three breweries the next day.”

Those completing the challenge will receive an Anchor Hocking Co. pint glass.

The final staycation package offers a $199 per night rate at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites and two VIP passes to the Spring at the Round Barn Vintage & Made Market, which is held April 30 through May 1 at the Fairfield County Fairgrounds.

“It’s sort of a shabby-chic event,” Haberfield said. “It’s a lot of farmhouse décor, clothes and jewelry. They’ll have over 100 vendors who will be on the grounds and they’ll have live music.”

Haberfield said the events offer ways people can get out during the pandemic.

“These are easy ways for people to get out of the house and do something fun.”

nellis@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNate

Java Trail stops

Das KaffeeHaus von Frau Burkhart, 45 E. Columbus St., Lithopolis

L-City Coffee, 123 N. Broad St., Lancaster

Liberty Tree Coffee & Tea, 201 W. Market St., Baltimore

Porter’s Coffee House and Bakery, 194 W. Church St., Pickerington

Provisions Bakery & Deli, 135 W. Main St., Lancaster

Spade’s Café & Bakery, 104 E. Main St., Amanda

Square Seven Coffee House, 150 W. Main St., Lancaster

The Well, 203 S. Broad St., Lancaster

Sweet Toot Trail stops

Candy Cottage, 2271 W. Fair Ave., Lancaster

Clearcreek Cakes and Bakes, 5210 Sand Hill Road, Amanda

Crazy 4 Popcorn, 618 Forest Rose Ave., Lancaster

Delish*Us Cakes and Catering, 745 E. Main St., Lancaster

Donut World, 601 N. Broad St., Lancaster

Extreme Creamery, 726 N. Memorial Drive, Lancaster

Fat Baby’s 1211 Hill Road N., Pickerington

Gypsy Joe’s Ice Cream & Donut Co., 2237 W. Fair Ave., Lancaster

Happy Goat Gluten Free Bakery and Bulk Foods, 608 Forest Rose Ave., Lancaster

Judge’s Choice Rollup Ice Cream, 1272 Hill Road N. Pickerington

Nancy’s Scoops, 1804 W. Fair Ave., Lancaster

Porter’s Coffee House and Bakery, 194 W. Church St., Pickerington

Provisions Bakery & Deli, 135 W. Main St., Lancaster

Schaffner’s Drive In, 601 W. Market St., Baltimore

Weldon’s Ice Cream Factory, 2887 Canal Drive, Millersport