WESTVILLE – Hot food, cold beer and a vast assortment of handmade arts and crafts await visitors to downtown Westville this weekend.
The Westville Area Chamber of Commerce will host the second annual Market on Main from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. More than 40 artisan and vintage vendors from across Northwest Indiana and beyond will set up booths along Main Street during the event, which is free and open to all ages.
A wide of variety of crafters will offer items such as handmade bath and body care products, apparel, jewelry, and wooden crafts — "a little of everything," according to Mandy Krickhahn, one of Market on Main's organizers.
Three Westville restaurants – Jimmy's Grub & Pub, Olga's Place and The Ville Bar and Grill – will offer food at booths set up outside their restaurants. Jimmy's will also sponsor a beer tent featuring craft beers from Michigan City's Burn 'Em Brewing.
A portion of beer sales will go to Caitlyn's Cause, a local childhood cancer non-profit. The charity will also host a children's area where volunteers will offer cotton candy, lemonade and other refreshments to younger visitors.
Krickhahn – who creates and sells handmade skin care products through her business, The SpOiled Housewife – founded Market on Main last year with Olga Pothorski, Town Council member and owner of Olga's Place.
They came up with the event as a way to draw more attention to the community during the spring, when there typically is not much going on, she said.
"We thought it would be a cool way to support a lot of small businesses in the area, as well as bring more people to Westville," Krickhahn said.
Working with crafters was a natural fit for Krickhahn, who frequents artisan markets around the area to sell her wares, she said. These types of markets benefit both customers, who get a chance to purchase unique items not found at big-box stores; and sellers, who get to expose their products to a broader audience, she said.
Around 40 vendors participated in last year's inaugural event, drawing about 1,000 visitors to downtown Westville, many from outside the area, Krickhahn said.
Charity was another important goal for the organizers, who decided at the outset to use the market to raise money for local charities. Last year, they donated a portion of beer sales – $1,100 in total – toward the family of Rylee Christianson, a Westville teenager who was recovering from liver cancer.
This year, they selected Caitlyn's Cause, named in honor of Caitlyn Fennell, a Westville High School graduate who passed away in March 2017 from her second battle with leukemia. The cause is particularly close to Pothorski's heart, as Fennell was one of her high school classmates, Krickhahn said.
The pair expect another big crowd Saturday, as the event has generated considerable buzz on social media, Krickhahn said. They hope to continue growing the festival in the future to drive support for local causes and bolster the Westville business community.
"We want people to not just drive through Westville, but to make it a destination," Krickhahn said.
For more information about Market on Main, go to facebook.com/pg/MarketOnMainWV.