Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Maker's Fair and Asian Fest attract some 2000 people to Texas Avenue, downtown Shreveport

Maker's Fair, Spring 2011 by trudeau
Maker's Fair, Spring 2011, a photo by trudeau on Flickr.

"We are comfortable with the estimate of 2000 people passing through the Texas Avenue / Shreveport Commons area as they attended the Texas Avenue Maker's Fair and Asian Fest on Ap 30," says April Dahm.

Dahm and her Texas Ave Community Assoc (TACA) board initiated the Maker's Fair with a 2-Saturday opening in October. There were 61 vendors in what was advertised as "Not your momma's crafts fair."

The Maker's Fair held in April featured 81 vendors. "And all the food sellers sold out!" noted Dahm.

Dahm said the Fair cost about $1200 to produce, including insurance and police support. The production was aided by Theresa and Greg Juneau, owners of the triangular site at the corner of Common and Tex Ave. The covered parking center provided weather protection for the vendors and enabled the fest to partner with the Asian Festival, since the 2 groups had adjacent sites.

The efforts of numerous volunteers enabled TACA to keep costs low. Vendor's tables were $10 each.

"My core volunteers included Conchita McElwee, Christy Kirkley, Garrett Johnson, Allison West, Chris Jay, Sara Hebert, Amy Lynn Scott, Nathan Treme and Kern Courtney. Stepping up to man the registration table were Debbie Engle and Alan Dyson. Chris Alexander helped, too," said Dahm. The TACA board also participated.

One part of the bargain pained Dahm: "The musicians volunteered their labor and art." Dahm plans to make musicians' pay a priority in the next Maker's Fair, being scheduled for November.

Designed to draw people downtown to enjoy the beauty of historic Texas Avenue, the fair has become an economic incubator. "Vendors like Jennette Ginsberg (decorated hula hoops) and Christy Kirkley (stuffed animals) are now selling their items year-round," said Dahm.

TACA is taking note of complaints so as to hone the event. "There were some disgruntled vendors who had tables in spots they thought were not ideal," admitted Dahm. "There were a few complaints about the volume of some of the musicians, too."

Highlights observed by Shreveport Blog included -
- Veggie and fruit wraps by caterer Libby Patterson Smith, who has a blog called
- Heliopolis Coffee, roasted locally by Jeremy Caudill.
- Juice bar with wheat shots by Brittney Maddox.
- Welded iron architectural details by musician-welder Jimmy Cousins.
- Minicine's Art Show across the street from the Fair at 846 Tex Ave.
- The Pursly Girls colorful hand-made purses - which sold out.
-Sno-cones vended by Robert Baucum, soon to open a New Orleans-style restaurant on Fern Ave.
- Bon Temps Burlesque dancers around dancer-organizer Waneta Walmsley, pushing the May 20 - 22 "Paint the Town Red" show.
- Storytelling by LeVette Fuller, new Young Adult Librarian for Shreve Memorial Library.

Photo: Libby Smith, gogreenly.com, serving an almond-paste fruit wrap.

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