STAY-AT-HOME DAD BRYAN SANFORD creates robot statues (above) from miscellaneous things found around his home. All creations are referred to as “Funk Shui.” Photo: Connor McCourtney
Every Sunday from Sept. 12 until Oct. 31, East Fifth Street in the East Village area of Downtown Des Moines was closed off to host the East Village Bazaar.
“I’m downtown all the time, and I love being in East Village, and there is nothing that is going on, on a Sunday,” said Amy Hassebrock, the creative mastermind behind the East Village Bazaar.
She described the bazaar as a way to bring life to the community on Sunday and to give sophisticated, stylish people something to do.
Hassebrock owns a women’s boutique in East Village, called Aimee.
The idea to have a bazaar came to her a while back. She explained that many other larger cities, like Chicago, have similar Sunday bazaars, so she figured the East Village area should also have one.
In order to make sure things didn’t get too out of hand, Hassebrock and her husband took care of most of the planning for the fair. She described it as a fun second job.
Hassebrock was very careful to call it a bazaar and not a market. She believes that the word market is over-processed and that the East Village Bazaar is very different from the Farmers’ Market and Market Day.
The bazaar hosted a variety of different vendors, including vintage clothing and furniture, beer, wine tasting and various food vendors. Many came from the Des Moines area but some came from as far as Minnesota, Wisconsin and Nebraska. Also, a local, live band played weekly.
Vendors’ booths ranged from simple card tables, to tents with many tables of goods.
This past week at the bazaar, friends Reina Wirtjes, Elena Flores and Maria Sanchez hosted a booth. The trio was at the bazaar almost every other week with different friends and different goods.
This was Wirtjes’s first week at the bazaar, and she was selling homemade jewelry. Flores is a tailor who does costume design, but she decided that she wanted to make her own things. She gathers her supplies from wholesale fabric stores and other various places.
Sanchez heard of the bazaar from the local paper and decided to put in an application for a booth. Each week she bakes a variety of goods that go with the season.
Sanchez has been baking since she was a child. Although she has no formal culinary schooling, this wasn’t her first time preparing food for others. Her first experience cooking in bulk was when she interned for a theater troupe and did the cooking for them. All of Sanchez’s treats are vegan because she started to bake vegan dishes for a lot of her friends. She finds many recipes in cookbooks and alters them to make them her own.
Wanda Hornsby also hosts a booth at the bazaar. Hornsby described her booth as “repurposed and recycled jewelry and fabrications made into new accessories.”
Hornsby also sells her items in local stores and at the Farmers’ Market. Wanda has been at the bazaar almost every week, and she enjoyed getting to know the other vendors.
The bazaar had a different local band play live every week. It kicked off with the band Decoy and wrapped up this past week with the band Old School.
East Village Bazaar was a great benefit to local businesses such as the Village Bean Co., located on East Fifth Street.
Adam Fanning, a Drake University graduate student, was going out to breakfast in the area when he saw the bazaar and decided to stop by.
“It’s awesome, it’s bizarre is what it is,” he said with a chuckle.
Fanning enjoyed the extremely cheap prices of the items and even made a purchase from a vendor called the Rusty Pumpkin.
Next year’s bazaar has been approved by the city, and planning has already begun. This year’s bazaar was on one block of East Village and hosted 54 booths. However, due to the popularity, next year a whole block will be added and there will be at least 100 booths.
The bazaar will also run longer, due to requests from many vendors and the public. Next year’s bazaar is set to start Labor Day weekend.
Planning for next year’s musicians and vendors has already begun and Hassebrock is looking for anyone interested. Those interested should email firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t wait though; they had to turn down many people this year because of the bazaar’s popularity.