Vandergrift holding night markets during holiday season
Vandergrift has launched a new series of night markets and invites local vendors to sell handcrafted goods and connect with the community.
The first Holiday Night Market took place Thursday in the town’s former J.C. Penney building on Grant Avenue.
The event was sponsored by the Vandergrift Improvement Program, a local nonprofit dedicated to preserving and restoring the community. The Holiday Night Market is meant to be a simple event to encourage interaction between businesses and community members, said Marilee Kessler, the program’s organization chair.
“The cost is negligible, and we probably won’t make any money,” Kessler said. “It’s just to do something nice.”
Goods for sale included candles, jewelry, wreaths and more from some of Vandergrift’s small businesses. Shops also extended their hours, and crafts were available for children.
Kessler said seven or eight vendors were present at Thursday’s first night market.
Vandergrift has held marketplace events in the past. Most recently, there had been a market on Saturday afternoons.
Kessler said the night market was suggested as a way to try something different in time for the holiday season.
She said events involving the town’s merchants allow community members to come together, share ideas and suggest new projects for the town.
“It just happens naturally,” she said. “That’s the way things get started.”
Eric Mikula, owner of Sweetlane Chocolate Shop nearby on Grant Avenue, was one of the shops participating in Thursday’s market.
“We’re participating because we really enjoy the community of Vandergrift,” he said. “(The Night Market) is good for us, good for the business and good for the community.”
Mikula took over ownership of the shop in December and hopes the night markets will help raise awareness of the shop.
“I love when new faces come in here, and I get to show them around and show them how I make stuff,” he said.
For Thursday, Mikula prepared chocolate-covered strawberries, chocolate-covered bacon and coconut clusters. The shop also sold old-school milkshakes, hot chocolate and cappuccinos.
A next night market will be held next Friday, Nov. 29, during Vandergrift’s Christmas Party and Parade. A third will take place Thursday, Dec. 5, and a fourth will happen Thursday, Dec. 12. Hours will be 4 to 9 p.m.
Editor’s note: The Holiday Night Markets will run from 4 to 9 p.m. An earlier version of this story contained incorrect hours.
Teghan Simonton is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Teghan at 724-226-4680, [email protected] or via Twitter .