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Maker Market and More
Summer brings a bevy of outdoor markets and a chance to shop local.

Melissa of Little x Little. 

The digital age isn’t killing all forms of human interaction, at least not here in Milwaukee. “Local markets are bringing back the opportunity for makers and customers to interact face-to-face,” says artist and Maker Market organizer Cortney Heimerl. She is dedicated to building support systems for creative people right here in Milwaukee.

Alterra Bay View is hosting her inaugural Maker Market on the first Sunday of every month in their parking lot. This art, craft and maker fair happens through September and features a new lineup of about 40 different vendors each month.

Heimerl is a quilter by trade and 
co-directed a wearable art collective called Fasten that vended at the East Side Green Market. At the time, she was working on her own concept-based art, which she admits wasn’t very usable, so she ventured into making utilitarian objects on the side. She also co-wrote the book Handmade Nation with Faythe Levine, so to say she’s a bit of an expert in this field isn’t a stretch.

The Maker Market gives people who can’t afford to open brick-and-mortar stores a way to connect with clients. And the demand is high – “We have a database of over 200 vendors, and more are contacting me everyday,” Heimerl says.

Janelle Gramling Designs.

She also started HoverCraft three years ago to focus on emerging and hobby makers that might have day jobs, but want to make some extra cash on the side. If people can make money, it empowers them to keep creating. Cortney wanted a way to spread out HoverCraft over the year, so she came up with the Maker Market for the summer months. “It’s so weird that in today’s day and age, you can spend all day looking online at things from all over the world, but you have no idea what your neighbor is making,” she laments.

Ramie Camarena, events and communications manager for Alterra says, “We're excited about hosting such a cool event. Live music is a part of it, but the focus is really on the vendors/makers. We will likely have small concerts around noon for each of the remaining markets and we are excited to have Mark Waldoch lined up for July 7.”

To see more information and pictures of the vendors from the June market, visit the Maker Market Facebook page. If you are interested in becoming a vendor, you can sign up for the waitlist by following the directions here. Or, if you want to be the first to hear about any new markets in town, subscribe to Cortney’s mailing list.

I have a quick update on the MKE Up Market that I wrote about in February.  MOCT bar and former Up Market site has transformed into the restaurant Prodigal, so the market is now outside in a parking lot at the corner of Water and Pittsburg, kitty corner from the tasty new spot. 

The Up Markets will continue throughout September on the first and third Sunday  from 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. There will be live world music starting at 11 a.m.  The markets are family and dog-friendly – more info here.

And don’t forget about these wonderful farmers markets downtown for your fresh edibles grown close to home:

West Town Farmers Market – Wednesdays, 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. through October 30 in Zielder Union Square (4th and Michigan). This is a great mid-week, lunch-break oasis with prepared food options from Jake’s Deli and the Soup Market, a handful of craft vendors and plenty of local produce.

East Town Farmers Market – Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. through October 5 in Cathedral Square Park (Jackson and Wells). Fresh flowers, free yoga sponsored by the WAC starting at 9 a.m., live music and of course, veggies. You can even bring your kitchen knives to have them sharpened.

South Shore Farmers Market – Saturdays, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. through October 12 in South Shore Park in Bay View. Live music, plants, produce and the best organic heirloom tomatoes. There won’t be a market on July 13, which is South Shore Frolics weekend.

I know that seems like a lot to tackle, but this is the City of Festivals and we only have three months to fit it all in, so start shopping!

Follow me on Twitter as @jkashou and search #GirlAboutTown to stay on top of what’s happening around town.

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