Local businesses shine at Lovey Dovey Hootenanny Pop-Up
February 12, 2020
The Rose Bowl Tavern in Urbana was warmly lit as locals sat together to share a beer. Some gathered around the bar while others faced the stage, preparing for the live music of the weekly Urbana Hootenanny to begin. This week, however, booths were set up to the right of the stage for a special “Lovey Dovey Hootenanny Pop-Up” event.
This event was coordinated with help from The Red Herring, a local vegetarian restaurant near campus. Head chef Holly Curia helped bring together these local artisans to share their craft with the community. In addition to The Red Herring, other vendors represented included Oh, Honey Pie, Frocks & Frippery, Delight Flower Farm and Peaceful Squirrel Healing & Tarot.
Not only are all of these businesses local, they are also either woman-owned or woman-managed, which Curia thought was important to highlight. They also align with The Red Herring’s value of environmental sustainability.
“I think there’s a holistic unison between everyone, either eco-friendly fabrics or eco-friendly products or made-from-scratch food,” she said. “There’s definitely a common theme between everyone being somewhat environmentally friendly and a made-from-scratch sort of consistency.”
Curia said part of the intention with shopping local is to circulate money within the local economy and build the community up. Another benefit is that it reduces the fossil fuels used with traditional shopping by sourcing materials locally.
One vendor who required few materials to operate her business was Gillian Gabriel from Peaceful Squirrel Healing & Tarot. Gabriel set up her booth at the hootenanny to provide tarot readings.
Gabriel is currently transitioning to working as the full-time owner of Peaceful Squirrel, offering healing sessions and tarot readings.
At the event, patrons will sit down for a conversation about what has been on their mind, including any problems they have been having, and then Gabriel will draw three cards. She will share her interpretations of the cards and what they may want to think about moving forward.
For this particular Valentine’s Day themed pop-up, she said “mostly, the readings are going to be focused on how to bring love into your life, and whether you have a romantic partner or you’re just working on self-love, Valentine’s Day is a good excuse to take a moment and assess that part of your life.”
Gabriel also said despite the cultural and consumer pressures circulating Valentine’s Day, it still can be a happy celebration of love.
“Anytime we have a day that’s devoted to thinking about love and how we can bring more love into the world, I think that’s positive,” she said.
Leslie Till from Oh, Honey Pie shared similar thoughts in an email about the holiday. She and her husband Matthew Doyle own the business, selling pies out of their blue food truck around the community. Leslie and Matthew do all the baking for their business, while also working as an elementary school teacher and a stagehand at Krannert respectively.
She said she feels the holiday often urges people to “buy material goods and overpriced mass-produced cards in hopes of keeping your significant other happy.” However, she saw the hootenanny as a great alternative for a Valentine’s night out that supported the community instead of big corporations.
This concern for supporting the local business was not only expressed by the vendors but also by those purchasing from them. Glorian Roberts and Alejandra Medina, both seniors in LAS, as well as Veronica Mullen, an alumna from Media, all came to support the event.
Roberts and Mullen both attend several local vendor events throughout the year. Mullen knew several of the vendors from prior events, so she knew beforehand they had products she was interested in.
All three of the women encouraged shopping locally for big holidays like Valentine’s Day.
“Valentine’s Day in and of itself is obviously a capitalistic holiday, so there’s always going to be products to be sold and money to be made,” Roberts said.
Medina continued, “If you’re going to give in to capitalism, you might as well put money in actual people’s pockets and not huge corporations.”
One vendor that had caught their eye was Delight Flower Farm which was selling CBD joints. Roberts said the community already had several local businesses where people could buy CBD products instead of getting them from the new dispensaries in town.
Beyond supporting their local businesses, the women also enjoyed the environment the hootenanny provided with its live music and growing crowd.
“It’s good to recognize that there are good things happening in the community,” Roberts said, “and everything is cute as hell anyways.”