The first Devon Community Market of the 2015 season was held on July 8, and was a pleasant surprise. Eleven friendly, enthusiastic vendors created an inviting bazaar, and Performing Arts Limited, a dance troupe of talented young performers, entertained with charming young ballerinas and a modern dance duo that stopped passers-by in their tracks.
Let’s begin with the entertainment. Performing Arts Limited (located at 2740 West Touhy Avenue) was a joy. The few pedestrians walking past the parking lot or waiting for the bus on the other side of the street were clearly enchanted by the pretty and graceful young ballerinas and their handsome young counterpart. Two talented young teenagers performed two modern dance routines–including tap dancing–and they were superb. Take a look at this slideshow for a glimpse of their artistry!
The first market showcased both new and returning vendors. Fresh, clean produce, beautifully displayed, came from Steven Frank Farms. Cucumbers, cauliflower, grapes, lettuce, garlic, red potatoes, fresh honey–and look at those peaches! Steven Frank Farms also offered corn, yellow squash, banana peppers, and carrots.
It was a farmers’ market all by itself.
Or consider Golden Rise Bakery, which offered three tables packed with freshly-baked breads, cookies, fruit turnovers, pies and other treats. Golden Rise offered a lush apple strudel as well as small fruit pies. You name it, they baked it. Golden Rise is a first-time vendor at this market.
Music House Academy of Music and Dance was a surprise vendor, not on the market’s official list. Located at 2925-27 West Devon, its Web site describes Music House as “… a Performing Arts School …dedicated to teaching students and parents the value of hard work to reach attainable goals! [Our school] … makes learning music and dance fun and engaging for all abilities.”
Here is Music House owner Richard Trumbo, proudly showing–and playing– his homemade lunchbox guitar.
The Going Green Mobile Science Lab is back again this year, providing fun learning experiences for kids of all ages. Anchored by Steve Johnson, the lab’s enthusiastic young scientists inform and amaze in a fun atmosphere.
Fehr Bros. Farms presented a stunning array of fresh meat, including Angus beef raised on the downstate farm that is several generations old, now owned and farmed by six brothers. Fehr Bros. also brought chicken, pork, lamb, and bison, in every butcher’s cut, as well as chicken eggs and duck eggs and fresh bacon.
Fehr Bros. is new to the market this year.
The West Ridge Chamber of Commerce was represented, as was Chiro-One Spinal Health Screening, new this year and not yet on the vendor list.
Joan Olson and Avon Products returned to the market with an array of cosmetics and skin care products as well as lovely jewelry and gift items.
Another new vendor this year is Marej Sultana Henna Designs. I watched in amazement as she created intricate floral paintings in a matter of minutes using a painless application of henna. Look at this beautiful work! Her lovely artwork dries in a matter of minutes and lasts for 7-10 days.
Two other new vendors joined the market this year.
St. James Presbyterian Church offers inspirational gifts and art projects for children. Remember to bring your pets to the Church’s annual Blessing of the Animals on Sunday, July 26, at 10:30 a.m. at the Church, 6554 N. Rockwell.
Bites of Pleasure Dairy Catering presented kosher baked goods and condiments. Everything looked absolutely delicious–and they do give samples!
The market failed to attract as many customers as these outstanding vendors deserved, an unfortunate consequence of its location and a lack of publicity. To date, there has been no advertising in the neighborhood newspaper, although an ad was placed in a paper that serves the Skokie area.
In addition, the market’s new Web site gives the wrong bus information, advising market goers to use the 151 [Sheridan] rather than the 155 [Devon] bus. The site also advises that both the 151 and 93 (California) buses stop “just steps” from the market’s location; in fact, the California bus is nearly two blocks from the market, and the 151 will take shoppers only to Clark and Devon. The 155 stops at Washtenaw, and that’s right across the street from the market. The directions need to be accurate if they’re going to help boost attendance.
Vendors appear at the market on a rotating basis so it’s a different market each week. I’ve been very critical of the market over the past two years, but that’s another post. Based on what I saw this week, it’s worth a visit.