Loyal to Local: 100 Days of School Re-supply Bash at RAM

Loyal to Local: 100 Days of School Re-supply Bash at RAM

The Riverside Arts Market (RAM), now in its 15th year, is a weekly makers and farmers market hosted by Riverside Avondale Preservation (RAP) on Saturdays, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., rain or shine. Each week more than 100 small business owners gather under the canopy of the Fuller Warren Bridge to sell their products to the local community. Keep reading to learn more about some of the incredible vendors that make RAM a must-visit part of every Saturday.

As students around the country celebrate completing “100 Days of School”, one special Jacksonville school will celebrate in a unique way: at the Riverside Arts Market. Central Riverside Elementary School is the recipient of support generated through RAM’s inaugural 100 Days of School Re-supply Bash. “Schools receive so much support from the community at the beginning of the school year, but after 100 days, supplies are dwindling. We are focusing on re-supplying schools at this crucial time” said Shannon Blankinship, Executive Director of Riverside Avondale Preservation, which hosts RAM.

Teachers from Central Riverside put together a wishlist of items and approved a selection of general school supplies for collection. Items like socks and backpacks that students outgrow as well as tissues and hand sanitizer to help students get a “clean start” to 2024. Collection bins for these items will be placed at Homespun Kitchen and the Riverside Arts Market weekly in January. Other supplies will be purchased and delivered to the school thanks to generous support from community partners, including PNC Bank Foundation, Blick Art Supplies, Motif Interior Design, Haskell Company and Councilmember Jimmy Peluso.

In addition to the supply drive, the Riverside Arts Market and co-curators The Balance King and New Company will host the 100 Days of School Re-Supply Bash at the Riverside Arts Market on January 27th, 2024. RAM is always family-friendly, but kid yoga followed by kid-friendly entertainment, contests, and games will be on the River Stage all day. Visitors to the Market will have no issue finding kid-friendly products, and RAM vendors like Sofia Villegas of Native Crochet have been hard at work creating products young visitors love.

croteched figures on shelves
crocheted panda and book titled "Starr's Wonderful Discovery"
man in cowboy hat smiling

“At the beginning, I didn’t have any items for kids” said Sofia, who learned to crochet at 12 years old and turned her passion into a business after the birth of her daughter. As a RAM vendor, she noticed many young visitors at the market. “I made my first stuffed animal, a seal, and I sold it. Next Saturday, I made three more and a whale- and I sold out! Seeing kids’ smiles and excited eyes when they see stuffed animals made me realize how much the children appreciate my art.”

Sofia’s crocheted animals catch the eye of more than just young visitors. Her booth neighbor, Trey Jefferies of The Simple Cowboy Co. is the author of a bedtime story he self-published called Starr’s Wonderful Discovery. “I was inspired to tell a story about finding your strength and happiness in knowing how unique and special each of us is”, he said about the book, which follows a young panda named Starr. Collaborating with Sofia to create a miniature stuffed Starr, was an easy decision. “Her crocheted items are works of art. She even added small bamboo shoots to each panda”.

In addition to Sofia and Trey, RAM is home to a number of other vendors who are inspired by their children and who create products that capture children’s attention and imagination. In addition to supplies collected for the classroom, the 100 Days of School Bash will also encourage visitors to purchase these locally made kid-friendly products for donation to Central Riverside’s “Dolphin Store”, where students are rewarded for good behavior during the school day. Visitors can stop by the RAM Information Booth on January 27th to receive a list of suggested vendors for purchase towards the project, or to learn more about supporting the re-supply drive.

Are you interested in becoming a RAM maker in 2024? Please visit the Applications tab on RAM’s website to learn more and submit your interest form. Before applying please note that the market is at capacity for many product categories and not accepting applications for: ceramics/pottery, clothes, jewelry, soap/body products, candles, cut flowers, macrame, and all food items.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)