At the corner of Government and Eugene streets on a Saturday, creativity overflows onto the sidewalk and the road. You’ll find booths and booths of handcrafted goods, from honey harvested at home to hand-carved wooden works to hot sauces and cocktail mixers. You can even catch some live music under the twinkling garden lights and grab a gourmet popsicle or a taco from a local eatery’s pop-up on the premises.
This is the Mid City Makers Market, an indie gathering of makers from around Baton Rouge and nearby cities, celebrating the artistic rejuvenation of Mid City and bringing new customers to these small creative upstarts.
The brainchild of Mimosa Handcrafted maven Madeline Ellis, the market has become a monthly mainstay for the neighborhood and one of the most buzzed-about events in the city. Though its been around for less than a year, it now boasts a roster of more than 30 regular vendors.
The origins of Mid City Makers Market are humble. Around the 2016 holidays, Ellis wanted to host a trunk show for friends and family outside her backyard studio, featuring some of her favorite local creatives and maker friends. When interest took off and the RSVP list grew, she decided to move the makeshift market to a property she and her husband co-own off Government Street, and the first Mid City Makers Market was born.
That inaugural market last December hosted less than a dozen vendors, including makers featured in our November 2016 cover story like Molly Taylor of Beneath The Bark Jewelry and Damien Mitchell of Damien Mitchell Designs. Booths filled just a small parking lot and an alley, but now, only eight months later, the market has exploded to take over the entire street corner one Saturday a month.
“Once we started to think that this could be a thing we would do more than once, we thought, ‘What is the void in Baton Rouge that we want to go to?'” Ellis says. “We were thinking in terms of entertainment and experiences we want to have with family and friends, so we filled it in that way. We want to go shopping, but what is there to do beyond that—whether it’s food or music.”
Not only do residents of the surrounding Mid City neighborhoods flock to the market, but it draws crowds from all over the city into a rapidly redeveloping area. Around the corner, the eclectic Pink Elephant Antiques and The Collective art studio and gallery opened within the last year, and the New Orleans-based French Truck Coffee opened its first Baton Rouge shop last week just two blocks away. All of this together seems to be helping renew interest in the growing culture at the heart of the Capital City. For the market, this has been one of its goals: to get locals all over town excited about what’s being created right down the road.
To get in on the action, visit the August Mid City Makers Market this Saturday, 4-8 p.m. Check out the vendors ahead of time so you can plan that budget accordingly, and as always, #shoplocal.
Check out photos of scenes from the July market. Click the images to enlarge.