The Flea Off Market-Louisville, KY


Blogging from the road for the first time. Long post warning!

It's 9:40 am (10:40 up here in Louisville time) and the festival officially opens in 20 minutes, but there are people milling around. We left home at 4 am and started the 3 1/2 hour drive. After about an hour of interstate and nauseating hilly highway driving, we turned onto highway 101 North. This is one of the most beautiful drives I've ever experienced. Rolling hills covered in lush deep green grass, low lying areas blanketed in fog and beautiful farms are on both sides of the highway. There are fields full of cows and horses. One scrubby field had a cream and gray spotted miniature horse standing beside a bale of hay. I could have spent an hour walking along taking pictures (obviously....I took none so just trust me here. Or, go for a gorgeous summer drive).  Edited: I took some on the drive back.

 

Taken on the way back, somewhere in Kentucky 

Taken on the way back, somewhere in Kentucky 

The photos will never capture the cool air and fresh sweet scent of cut hay and the glimpses of little houses down in valleys      

The photos will never capture the cool air and fresh sweet scent of cut hay and the glimpses of little houses down in valleys

 

 

 

Apparently we left earlier last time (July 4th weekend) because we didn't get here to set up today until 9am, after most people were almost set up. Pulling in to set up when other booths are already up makes it more challenging, but we had very nice neighbors who understood when our booth stuff was spread all over the place. The weather is absolutely PERFECT and it's about time to wander and take some photos. 

 

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3pm. The weather is unbelievable. And the people we've met here are some of the friendliest anywhere.. We're in the NuLu district, also known as East Market District. According to nulu.org:

"NuLu is best known for its art galleries, specialty stores, antique shops and a growing number of local, upscale restaurants.

The term 'NuLu' is a portmanteau meaning 'New Louisville'. As home to the greenest commercial building in Kentucky, many historic restoration projects, as well as several restaurants offering organic and locally sourced ingredients, NuLu has emerged with a culture of sustainability."

  What I've noticed is natural beauty in the middle of a city, but in a way that incorporates the best of both. And an interesting mix of architecture.  When you get off the interstate to come down to the NuLu area, the area feels like a mix of an historical area, a neighborhood and a business district.

I love to see how areas mark their territory 

I love to see how areas mark their territory 

Lincoln Elementary Performing Arts School

Lincoln Elementary Performing Arts School

Directly across the road from where our booth is, we can see the entrance to the Home for the Innocents.  This is  "  a private, non-profit agency that has been in operation for 135 years, served   over 7,000 children and their families last year.   The Home provides services to assist those who are facing severe crisis". They care for abandoned, neglected and abused children, provide a home-like hospital environment for medically-fragile children and also offer services to children with autism  and behavioral issues. 

Directly across the road from where our booth is, we can see the entrance to the Home for the Innocents.  This is  " a private, non-profit agency that has been in operation for 135 years, served over 7,000 children and their families last year. The Home provides services to assist those who are facing severe crisis". They care for abandoned, neglected and abused children, provide a home-like hospital environment for medically-fragile children and also offer services to children with autism  and behavioral issues. 

10:20 am, Sunday. Sitting in the booth on this glorious sunny morning, drinking my hotel coffee. We stay at the Airport Springhill Suites and it is incredible. Probably the best affordable hotel we've ever stayed at. Highly recommend.   Last night for dinner, we followed the recommendation of some locals and went to Against the Grain. From their website-

"Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse is located in the southeast corner of Louisville Slugger Field at the corner of Jackson and Main Street. It is a former train station that features beautifully ornate industrial architecture, lending to the beauty of the dining room and brewhouse. Inside you will find one of the nations only operational, Victorian styled and 3 story 'showpiece' brewhouses. The copper clad 15 barrel brewhouse is complimented by eclectic pieces of art produced by Louisvillian artists."

David had the brisket and I had a "fun guy" mushroom burger. It was truly a memorable meal out and I finally tasted a beer I liked (Black Hearted Imp if you're looking for a dark beer with a really clean light flavor). And I don't even like or drink beer. David got Stranger Things after he realized he didn't like the dark beer. He said it was grapefruit-y and he would recommend it :)

 

Black -Hearted Imp

Black -Hearted Imp



After dinner, we went to the riverfront and walked. Louisville is full of fascinating history and the waterfront area is a large part of it. It's nice to just be out together on a date in a city we loved instantly. There are so many bikes, families, dogs, interesting architecture and fun events. It quickly became a new favorite place to visit. Residents are very proud of their city. You regularly see people with Louisville and Cardinals shirts and LOTS of Fleur-de-lis (which is the seal of Louisville) shirts and tattoos. 

 I love places that put in the extra effort to make the streets beautiful.

 I love places that put in the extra effort to make the streets beautiful.

This is the foot of the statue of Pee Wee Reese. I took a picture of the whole statue, but this is more entertaining and true to what our time together is like. 

This is the foot of the statue of Pee Wee Reese. I took a picture of the whole statue, but this is more entertaining and true to what our time together is like. 

Louisville take its baseball seriously.

Louisville take its baseball seriously.

Walking along the waterfront

Walking along the waterfront

Walking in the steps of great minds (minus Andrew Jackson :)

Walking in the steps of great minds (minus Andrew Jackson :)

    As I'm writing this, it is now Monday afternoon and my computer AND phone have been giving me all kinds of issues with this post. We had a great Sunday at the Flea Off and if you're ever in the area you should check it out. It is a really good mix of music, food, drinks and vendors selling all kinds of fun things. Terrariums, vintage clothing, aromatherapy jewelry, regular jewelry, records and even shrunken heads ;)  There is a cocktail/beer vendor that sells Kentucky Mules, Bloody Marys, "Flea Tea" which is iced tea with vodka in it and other drinks. And of course, there are food trucks! There is also one thing (below)  that I've never seen at any of the festivals we have done- seating!

 I don't know if you can really make it out in this photo. But they have set up all these shaded sitting areas with comfy chairs and plants. Up there near the donut truck, there is a dj playing music and a dance platform where people perform. The organizers work really hard to make this a place for people to congregate and have fun. 

 I don't know if you can really make it out in this photo. But they have set up all these shaded sitting areas with comfy chairs and plants. Up there near the donut truck, there is a dj playing music and a dance platform where people perform. The organizers work really hard to make this a place for people to congregate and have fun. 

I don't know what "chicken shit bingo" is. But it sounds fun, doesn't it?

I don't know what "chicken shit bingo" is. But it sounds fun, doesn't it?

I think taking donations like this is a great idea and I saw lots of people giving money. This event is every month and seems to be really popular with the locals. I am so glad we got to be a part of it. 

I think taking donations like this is a great idea and I saw lots of people giving money. This event is every month and seems to be really popular with the locals. I am so glad we got to be a part of it. 

 We went to Louisville for the first time back over July 4th weekend and loved it instantly. It feels like a place that holds onto the past in a way of honoring what was important, but also moves forward and embraces new ideas. It has a funky 90s vibe while also being a very environmentally friendly city. We wanted to see as much as possible. On that visit, my brother told me, "Do not leave Louisville without visiting Cave Hill Cemetery". So we made sure we made the time and it was so worth it.  This is where Muhammad Ali was buried. We never saw his gravesite, but we did see a tent with a guard standing nearby back in a corner and I am pretty sure that was it. Colonel Sanders was also buried here. We had a nice rainy early morning drive through this beautiful peaceful place. 

Cave Hill is a 296 acre Victorian era cemetery and arboretum.  James Irvin was a steamboat captain and was on the board of Cave Hill Cemetery. 

Cave Hill is a 296 acre Victorian era cemetery and arboretum.  James Irvin was a steamboat captain and was on the board of Cave Hill Cemetery. 

Lots of geese and beautiful old trees

Lots of geese and beautiful old trees

Cave Hill National Cemetery is about 4.1 acres within the almost 300 acres of Cave Hill Cemetery.  It is  extremely moving to see row after row of Civil War graves.  

Cave Hill National Cemetery is about 4.1 acres within the almost 300 acres of Cave Hill Cemetery.  It is  extremely moving to see row after row of Civil War graves.  

   So back to this glorious Labor Day weekend. As always, we met some really wonderful people. And dogs.

This dude rode in style with his own stroller and a tupperware container of water.

This dude rode in style with his own stroller and a tupperware container of water.

Dino (the bigger one) made a slightly reluctant friend

Dino (the bigger one) made a slightly reluctant friend

David got some work done and people that came in got to see how a piece is made. Kids always love this. 

David got some work done and people that came in got to see how a piece is made. Kids always love this. 

After two very full days, it was time to pack back up and head home. 

Giant box of boxes- easier to pull on a dolley

Giant box of boxes- easier to pull on a dolley

A huge thanks to the Flea Off Market organizers,  vendors and visitors for making this event what it is. And thanks to the city of Louisville for being such a fantastic place. Your city and the people in it are truly awesome and we will be back.

We aren't selfie professionals.

We aren't selfie professionals.

But we make it work. 

But we make it work. 

Thanks for reading!

~~Elisabeth and David

Tomato Art Fest- Nashville

Someone actually paints this (or chalks this, I guess?) right down in the hub of activity where the roads meet up. Five Points. It's huge and fantastic and so fun.

Someone actually paints this (or chalks this, I guess?) right down in the hub of activity where the roads meet up. Five Points. It's huge and fantastic and so fun.

   This weekend, we were at the Tomato Art Fest. People who live in Nashville, specifically East Nashville, know all about this fantastic festival. But here is a little background, copied from tomatoartfest.com:

"Tomato Art Fest was founded by Meg and Bret MacFadyen, owners of East Nashville’s Art and Invention Gallery. In 2004, the gallery hosted an art show celebrating the tomato in late summer, and planned a few neighborhood events to promote the show. The Fest proved so popular that it immediately turned into an annual, signature event for the growing, hip, urban neighborhood of East Nashville. ".

  We've done this festival for...7 years...we *think*. Pretty sure it's been 7 years, and we LOVE it. It's one of the most FUN festivals we do. 

 

 

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   East Nashville is a great place, with a real sense of community and pride. It's been growing and improving and is described as "historic, eclectic and hip" and "one of the most desired areas" by visitmusiccity.com. We certainly have a lot of fun any time we visit. But, we were there first to work. We live an hour and a half away and set up was at 6 am for us. So we were up at 3:30am and on the road by 4am. We arrived a bit early and discovered most people had set up the day before so unloading was pretty quick and easy.

 

Things were a blur...haha...unloading. 

Things were a blur...haha...unloading. 

We recently redesigned the booth and these curtains were a new bit of color. They are a pale green and with the sunlight in the booth, they add the perfect touch.

We recently redesigned the booth and these curtains were a new bit of color. They are a pale green and with the sunlight in the booth, they add the perfect touch.

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    With 25+ festivals behind us, we have set up down to a mostly silent tag-team process. With this new set up, it took just under 2 hours.

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  Once we set up, we usually take a walk to check out the rest of the festival and say hi to our neighbors. Festival artists are a community. We help each other out, watch the booth if someone needs to go get food or to the restroom, compare travel stories and mishaps and generally just get to know each other. 

I love the early mornings of set up. It's usually quiet and often chilly. This time, it was 77 degrees, but still.

I love the early mornings of set up. It's usually quiet and often chilly. This time, it was 77 degrees, but still.

  When our kids went with us, I spent large parts of the day off with them, enjoying the festival activities. Tomato Art Fest has a really great kids' area and one year, our daughter won the contest where you dress up a tomato as a character. She got a HUGE prize basket! Here's a partial list of activities, and this doesn't even include just seeing art, eating really good food and watching people:

*Tomato King and Queen

*Parade

*East Nashville Tomato 5k

 *Giant Ice Cream Sundae Extravaganza

 *Tomato Haiku Contest

 *Tomato Fairy/Elf Contest

*Faux Paw Fashion Competition (yes, a pet fashion show!)

  There is SO much to do, see, eat and drink. Everyone is there just for fun and to socialize, which is even more important right now. It's a really laid-back environment with cool music. People that live in the area have friends and family out on their porch. There are people dressed as tomatoes and in other crazy costumes. Highly recommend! 

    Anyway, these days I spend my time in the booth, talking to people and just watching. Honestly, to the people that come into our booth- YOU are our very favorite part of doing this. We love meeting you! We love your stories and your questions. I love seeing people discover David's work, or come back to buy a piece year after year. You are all so friendly and interesting. I truly don't ever remember a rude customer. Thank you, thank you for coming out to show your support to artists. You'll never know how much it means. It isn't about sales (those are great too, trust me!) It's about building relationships. David said, "I don't consider them customers, I consider them friends". He remembers you, from one year to the next. Some of you are hardcore collectors and come back to add to your collection, no matter how long it takes you to find us. (If you're planning to come see us at a festival, let us know ahead of time because we can usually give you our booth number and most festivals have a map of vendors).

   I do take breaks to get us food or just to explore. As the artist, David stays in the booth almost the entire time. But I get to see awesome stuff: 

 

 

Food trucks- one of the best things ever invented

Food trucks- one of the best things ever invented

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If this is your house, I wasn't creeping. I just love your windows!

If this is your house, I wasn't creeping. I just love your windows!

Same to you, whoever lIves here :)

Same to you, whoever lIves here :)

It's such a beautiful area, with a great mix of residential, retail and restaurant spaces.

It's such a beautiful area, with a great mix of residential, retail and restaurant spaces.

I always see these in Texas, but have never seen them in Tennessee. Does anyone know what they're called?

I always see these in Texas, but have never seen them in Tennessee. Does anyone know what they're called?

There was one thing I saw that filled me with happiness and nostalgia:

 

The best grilled cheese ever

The best grilled cheese ever

I was gluten-free for a few years and this food truck SAVED me at a few different festivals. They have gluten-free bread. Find them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. They have 2 (or more?) trucks, so more than likely, you'll be able to get to some unbelievable grilled cheese in no time. Thank you, Grilled Cheeserie, for making my life easier and cheesier.

   Of course, what would a festival be without dogs:

 

This beautiful boy came in with his people and his dog friend, laid down with his head up under our curtains and waited. Then David got our dog water cup for him. We try to have water available when it's this hot.

This beautiful boy came in with his people and his dog friend, laid down with his head up under our curtains and waited. Then David got our dog water cup for him. We try to have water available when it's this hot.

Dog friends that know how to share

Dog friends that know how to share

 Tomato Art Fest, East Nashville and everyone who came out-- THANK YOU for a wonderful day! We always have a great time. And to anyone who hasn't gone, check it out next year. It's always around the second weekend in August and I promise you, you won't be disappointed. You'll see the sweetest babies, happiest families, friendliest artists and best dogs around. I guarantee you will find something there that you love.

I leave you all with a humorous moment. Our friend and fellow artist, Elliot (ewadeart- look him up on Instagram and Etsy) brought David some bones. He's also the first person to say he reads these so "Hi, Elliot!!" :) Then, this happened:

 

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Tomato Art Fest. Five Points in East Nashville. We hope to be back next year and to see you all there. Come say hi- I promise you won't be bored.

Thanks for reading and for supporting art. 

~~Elisabeth