Two downtown businesses are joining forces to kick off the fall season next weekend with a shopping faire celebrating the talents of local artisans and vendors.
Lauren Camarata of Old French Trading Company and Julie LoForti of Bella Forte Boutique will host their inaugural Harvest Open Air Market in downtown Turlock over the course of two Saturdays next month, Oct. 2 and Oct. 16. The pair wanted to offer a chance aside from the weekly farmers market for community members to enjoy the outdoors downtown while bringing much-needed foot traffic to support local businesses who have suffered throughout the pandemic.
“The City hasn’t been able to hold any of its annual events like Christmas and Fourth of July, so we saw an opportunity to bring people out and put a spotlight on a lot of the local talent,” Camarata said. “We wanted to bring something elevated and feature small businesses, makers and artisans who have also been struggling through the last 18 months.”
Camarata opened her store in downtown Turlock in January 2020, just two months shy of the global COVID-19 outbreak. Business has been tough for her new endeavor, where she serves as the local retailer for Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan, and the market will serve as a way for shoppers to connect with and support small businesses even after the event is over.
During both Saturdays of the Harvest Open Air Market, the block in front of Old French Trading Company and Bella Forte Boutique will welcome SuperSope Food Truck, Green Aura Plant Life, The Vintage Oak Candle Co., Seed and Stone Jewelry and Wild and Free Clay Company. In addition, Oct. 2 will feature Born Nutz, MC Candles and Scrunchie Munchies while Oct. 16 will also feature 1507 Boutique, Bee Stings Habanero Honey, Lisa’s Cookie Jar, SassySips by Ginger and Sweet Valley Cake Company.
According to Camarata, they are still accepting vendors for both Saturdays and are hoping to host the event annually.
“The pandemic has absolutely had its challenges, but I'm just really thankful that I've had a lot of customer support through this time to make it possible to still be operating,” Camarata said. “I wanted to give back and acknowledge the opportunity that I've been given and share that with other small businesses and makers in the larger community.”
The Harvest Open Air Market will take place from 3 to 8 p.m. at West Main Street and Broadway on Oct. 2 and Oct. 16. Those interested in becoming vendors can contact Camarata at email@example.com or LoForti at firstname.lastname@example.org.