Christmas gets its own independence day next weekend, when Modesto gathers in downtown for support, good cheer and some holiday shopping.
Independent artists and independent businesses join for the Mod Shop Indie Crafters Market, returning for its fifth year Saturday, Nov. 25. More than 80 vendors in 90 booths – all from the Modesto region – will peddle their handcrafted wares in locally owned businesses along J Street.
It’s proven to be a community-binding and festive event the last four years, bringing in shoppers filled with holiday spirit, happy smiles and warm handshakes.
“Every year, we hear from more and more people their love for Mod Shop,” co-organizer Kate Trompetter said in an email interview. “I can’t tell you how many vendors, musicians, community members have told us it’s one of their favorite events of the year.”
Ruhi Sheikh and Tricia Rosenow put on the event along with Trompetter each year and are proud to see the event take off and the support grow, particularly from the downtown merchants, who make the event possible.
“We’ve been talking about radical generosity and how our events don’t happen without the community demonstrating radical generosity in multiple ways,” Trompetter said.
Mod Shop puts an exclamation mark to Small Business Saturday for the city, when other merchants also open their doors on a national day geared to encouraging people to shop at independent retailers the day after Black Friday.
This will be the third year Modesto pottery artist Randall Crimmel has participated in Mod Shop. “Mod Shop brings people together and in contact with the underground creative community in (the) Modesto area. A real festive atmosphere. It can get pretty crowded at moments, but people seem to go with the holiday spirit and savor this unusual gathering of the community.”
Also returning is natural body, skincare and mineral cosmetics maker Michelle Adams from Turlock, who has been part of Mod Shop since its beginning. “I love that the local businesses support the event, not only by staying open but also by hosting makers and making us feel comfortable sharing their space with us. The variety of local vendors and the quality of their work is great too. I start my Christmas shopping at Mod Shop every year.”
This will be the first foray for Sonia Serrano to sell her succulent arrangements and crafts at Mod Shop, encouraged by others to join the event. “I have heard only amazing things from the community. I’m expecting a lot of community support. I’ve heard the crowd is amazing.”
Opening to those crowds for the first time this year will be Tresetti’s World Caffe, with its wine shop at the corner of 11th and J hosting vendors. Other participating merchants are Ralston’s Goat, Health Plan of San Joaquin Community Room, Preservation Coffee and Tea, Concetta, Mira’s Bridal, Deva Café, Mod Spot and Peer Recovery Art Project. A raffle for items provided by participating vendors will be held inside the Modesto Chamber Office with proceeds supporting MoST (Modesto-Stanislaus Poetry Center).
Returning will be a Mini Mod Shop set up inside Mistlin Gallery, where young crafters sell their creations.
Along with those selling their wares – handmade furniture, cosmetics, art, clothing, knitted items and more – the gathering also will feature live music on the street corners along J Street between 10th and 13 streets. Musicians include DaDrummers (David and Seth Rogers), Tractor Boy Chris Ward, Flatland, Patty Castillo Davis, FunStrummers, Music by Tangled Ts, Jim Wells, Buffalo Buffalo and Mattea Overstreet.
Trompetter noted that the musicians all are playing for tips and suggests a little radical generosity from passersby for them that night, as well.
Tammy Jo Schoppet of Modesto returns to Mod Shop with her pottery this year. She said it’s a place where people can get one-of-a-kind gifts, as well as a festive place to do that shopping. “It’s a wonderful atmosphere; everyone’s happy and it’s exciting.”
That atmosphere is part of what makes Mod Shop unique. Trompetter, who also helped bring the summer Porchfest concerts to the city, shared a speech she gave recently to a Modesto Rotary group about the community-gathering events.
“The cultural experience is about creativity and buying local and homemade. The personality of our group is charming – with a hint of sass,” she told the club about Mod Shop. “Tradition mixed with innovation. Mod Shop is excessively happy and likes to move a lot.”
Mod Shop Indie Crafters Market
WHEN: 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 25
WHERE: J Street between 10th and 13th streets