Downtown dame: Peggy Kumler looks back on starting Old Mill Festival

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By Sadie Hunter

 

Peggy Kumler is a familiar face in Noblesville.

She’s lived in the city for four decades, and for the past two, she’s owned A Corner Cottage on the downtown square. But not all know her contribution to downtown as the mind behind one of Noblesville Main Street’s signature events – The Old Mill Festival.

Kumler served on the Noblesville Main Street board for eight years, retiring in 2013. During her time volunteering, she created, organized and chaired the Old Mill Festival event.

“I was on the board for Noblesville Main Street, and at the time, there weren’t a lot of events like the Old Mill Festival going on,” Kumler said. “We have so many people (in this area) who are so creative, and I thought, ‘We’ve got to do this. We just have to.’”

This year’s Old Mill Festival will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 16 on the square. It will feature dozens of local vendors and artisans.

The festival debuted in the spring of 2011 and was such a success that the organization held the event again the following fall. In 2012, Kumler was recognized with the Merchant of the Year Award from Noblesville Main Street after leading the two events.

“I came from that background,” Kumler said. “I did a lot of (craft and home décor) shows before. When I finally decided to stop that, I went into Logan Village Mall (as a vendor) to sell. Eventually, I had to have my own place because I had too many ideas, and it has been successful.”

While a traveling vendor, Kumler was a painter of vintage-looking pictures.

“I just wanted to learn to paint, so I went to painting classes, and when I did that, I loved it so much, I just couldn’t stop and did that probably 15 years,” she said.

A native of Whiteland, Kumler moved to Noblesville 40 years ago with her husband, Roger. Seventeen years ago, she opened A Corner Cottage.

“We are going into our 17th year, which is kind of unheard of,” Kumler said. “When I opened, I was getting tired of traveling, and we were raising grandkids. So because of that, I wanted to be home more.”

A boutique store that sells home décor, furniture, clothes, accessories and more is one of the longest-standing stores of its kind on the square.

“We get people from all over the country that come in here,” Kumler said. “You get to talk to the most amazing people, and they become friends.”

At 66, Kumler said she has no plans of slowing down or retiring.

“Gosh, I’m having a blast. As much as I work, I am not sick of this at all,” she said. “We’re growing and expanding all the time. I work (the store) to death. You just have to be on it and be creative all the time, but that’s what I love.”

OLD MILL FESTIVAL

What: An event featuring dozens of local artisans and creative vendors

When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 16

Where: Downtown Noblesville square

Cost: Free

More: noblesvillemainstreet.org

RUNNING THROUGH THE MILL

Mill references in today’s Noblesville culture date back to a time when the city was known for its flour mills, particularly the Noblesville Milling Company, which was housed in the Model Mill Building – what is now The Mill Top event center at the northeast corner of Mulberry and Eigth Streets downtown. The Noblesville Milling Company produced Diadem and Kismet flours, and in the 1920s, a company manager purchased uniforms for a high school sports team if the team would agree to being called The Millers.

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