Art and markets return to downtown Aurora Saturday inside the Society 57 building at 100 S. River St.
The market, which will be open Dec. 10 and 17, features a rotating roster of 60 local vendors displaying about two dozen products each session.
The Aurora Downtown Group organized the market again, and according to its manager, Marisa Amoni, the market is becoming a new downtown tradition.
“We are excited to see the growth of the market. The market is now becoming a spring and fall staple, and it supports local manufacturers, including some of our own downtown businesses,” Amoni said in a press release from the group.
Saturday’s crowd included shoppers like Mike and Dawn Baker of Naperville who said they came to check out the vendors as well as support one of their employees who had a booth at the market.
“I love craft shows and as the holidays come around I look for different things and gifts,” Don Bakker said. “I like a little bit of everything and I like homemade, handcrafted things that people make – they’re different, aren’t they? You can’t find that in a regular store and this is where you find unique things that people bring themselves.”
Mike Baker says he’s usually drawn to food items at local markets.
“I don’t mind going to these things because I like to have a happy wife,” he said with a laugh. “I don’t buy crafts or anything, but if my wife buys soap or something, of course I use them.”
Natalie Bonner of Aurora was checking out some crystal jewelry at the market Saturday and said she was looking into getting a few bracelets for herself.
“Today is for me. It’s about me today,” he said with a smile. “I think these pop-ups give small business owners an opportunity to showcase their products and work with fellow business owners to build relationships and find more opportunities to get their products out there. They put a lot of heart and soul into what they make and You can tell by the finished product.”
Bonner was drawn to Crystal Ship Jewelry, which owner Shannon Marafa of Sugar Grove said was a name “I came up with about 10 years ago.”
“I really like the song ‘Crystal Ship’ on the door and it just kind of stuck and really suited the brand,” he said. “I’m not really sure how many pieces I make each year. I’d guess it’s thousands. I market full time.”
Marafa says the feedback she gets from customers is that her products “have their own style and I’m known for natural gemstones.”
“It’s just quality. I’m very proud of sourcing really nice, quality crystals and beads and having a bit of a following here in Aurora,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for about eight years and have been a part of other markets, including the local farmers market here in Aurora, for the past three seasons.”
Helen Burton, 20, of Aurora, owner of Clutch Candle Company, said she has been in the business making candles from carefully selected materials for about a year. He said Saturday was his first time at an Aurora market and the inspiration for his business actually involved his rather unusual pet.
“I enjoy candles but I own reptiles as pets and they are very picky about scents and types of wax, so I decided to make my own candles that would be safe for them,” she said. “I did a lot of research before I started on what types of waxes I store and what fragrance oils are safe. I have about 30 different fragrances. One of my most popular at the moment is the sea breeze candle.”
David Sharos is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News.