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2015 Woodlawn Street Market showcases historic district resurgence

REV Birmingham and the Woodlawn Business Association invite Birmingham and surrounding community members to attend the first Woodlawn Street Market of 2015 on April 11th, 10a.m.-4p.m. in 55th Place South. The event will feature more than 40 vendors.

Following the success of two installments last year, the Woodlawn Street Market is emerging as more than an opportunity for local business, art, craft, retail and food vendors to showcase quality and affordable products. The event is also a microcosm of the resurgence of historic Woodlawn and the 55th Place commercial core.

“Woodlawn Street Market has almost become the embodiment of renewed energy within Woodlawn, and it’s drawing people in,” said Bekah Fox of Woodlawn-based recording studio and record shop, Communicating Vessels. ”The street market is changing perceptions about our neighborhood, even inciting new levels of engagement amongst merchants. New and old businesses now consider their neighbors partners in a much larger effort to launch this community forward. The change is happening from within, and events like the Woodlawn Street Market showcase that vibrancy for the region to see.”

In addition to increasing foot-traffic, spurring economic activity and encouraging collaboration amongst new and existing businesses, proceeds from the event — collected through vendor application fees – help the Woodlawn Business Association and REV Birmingham facilitate aesthetic improvements like bike racks, landscaping, banners and additional branding efforts for the district.

June 2014 marked the launch of the first-ever Woodlawn Street Market. Organizers coordinated the event as a pilot to showcase Birmingham’s artists, crafters, merchants and retailers to members of the historic Woodlawn community and beyond. More than 500 attendees visited the area to shop with more than 21 vendors. Displays included a diverse selection of fresh produce, one-of-a-kind wares, cooked cuisine, retail booths, crafts, local fashion, specialty goods and more. Each street market has seen increasing vendor and attendee demand since the initial launch.

“Initially there was some skepticism that something of this magnitude would work in the Woodlawn Community” said REV Woodlawn District Lead Brian Gunn, “But with the support of the business and neighborhood associations, we are seeing an overwhelmingly positive demand from surrounding communities and vendors to participate — so much so that we had to end the application process two weeks earlier than expected; that is why we now offer the Woodlawn Street Market as a quarterly experience.”

Organizers note the Woodlawn Street Market has served as a launch-pad for up-and-coming startups to test the waters before committing to a brick-and-mortar location. Since the initial market, several vendors have transitioned to permanent Birmingham locations.

“That’s the appeal of the Woodlawn Street Market,” said Gunn. “You can experience the next big success story of the ever-evolving retail scene before the masses.”

Organizers hope to create an atmosphere similar to walkable Birmingham events like Art Walk and Magic City Art Connection, but with a uniqueness that the Woodlawn Business Community and surrounding residents to which can contribute to.  Community partners include Communicating Vessels, Woodlawn United, 2threefive and Substrate Radio. In addition to local vendors, the April 11th Woodlawn Street Market will also feature a Kids Zone and other interactive components for attendees to enjoy.

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