SOUTH SHORE — Local artists and business owners will take over 71st Street this weekend to encourage folks to shop local this holiday season.
The CONNECT South Shore Arts Festival kicked off with an opening reception Friday night, and vendors will pop up from noon-8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at 1914 E. 71st St. (art, design and fashion) and 2100 E. 71st St. (general marketplace). A film festival at 2226 E. 71st St. and health and wellness area at 2226 E. 71st St. will round out the market.
The free event was organized by the South Shore Chamber and Special Service Area #42 in partnership with Eric Williams, owner of The Silver Room, 1506 E. 53rd St. in Hyde Park, and Rob McKay of Connect Gallery, 1520 E. Harper Court in Hyde Prk. The goal of the annual event is to spur interest in local small businesses and businesses.
Event organizers are expecting more than 1,000 visitors throughout the weekend.
Williams said they decided to host the event in South Shore this year after a successful market in Hyde Park in 2016.
The CONNECT Hyde Park event was such a success that the formerly vacant retail space is now occupied with viable businesses, Williams said. The pop-up shops aim to show what the space could potentially be used for with the right businesses in place.
“It was a huge success, a ton of folks came down, and that’s how South Shore heard about what we have done and asked us to come down and do the same thing on 71st Street,” Williams said. “It’s about bringing excitement and energy to a neighborhood that doesn’t always have a positive spin on it.”
Williams said participating vendors were selected from a list of businesses who have previously worked with the The Silver Room and also live in the greater South Shore community.
“I think it’s a very important thing to have these temporary activations to happen to create this different spark in the community,” he said. “My favorite part is seeing people have a good time. I think seeing people live in the neighborhood and seeing them come down and get involved is the best part to me.”
Tonya Triche, president of the South Shore Chamber, said the festival is one of the most anticipated events in the neighborhood this year.
“We feel if we can put on an event like this it attracts not only from the South Shore community but from other parts of town as well,” she said. “We want to show them the vibrancy of the community in hopes that they will occupy several of the vacant storefronts or locate their business in the South Shore community.”
For more information and a full lineup of events, visit the fest’s website here.