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Great idea alert

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

La Femme Fatale brings plus-sized bodies more than monotone basics

Warna Downey brings a new boutique to Bedford

Posted By on Wed, Oct 9, 2019 at 5:37 PM

“It’s the pits not being able to find something that fits,” says Warna Downey. - DANIEL DOMINIC
  • “It’s the pits not being able to find something that fits,” says Warna Downey.
  • Daniel Dominic

La Femme Fatale
Sunnyside Mall, 1595 Bedford Highway


Like many folks, Warna Downey found shopping as a plus-sized woman supremely frustrating, if not downright impossible. Downey, who comes from a STEM background, recalls going into a Pennington’s in Fredericton (“we weren’t cool enough back then for an Addition Elle,” she says) and thinking: “These clothes are ugly.” Fortunate enough to have a bit of a sewing background, Downey would go to a fabric store, buy some cool fabric and sew her own surplice neckline tops. “No one should have to do that,” she says.

So, at a crossroads between continuing in academia after getting her Masters in geology and PhD in earth sciences or trying something completely new, she chose to open La Femme Fatale, a store catering to plus-sized women, which opened October 1 in Bedford’s Sunnyside Mall. “There’s a huge gap in the market, what’s out there is mostly controlled by Reitmans. They do a good job, they’ve been doing it for years for us,” she says. “You could go to Walmart or Giant Tiger but you know those are disposable. After a couple of washes, the t-shirts look a little sad. Something needs to change. It’s the pits not being able to find something that fits.”

La Femme Fatale’s style profile is trendy, modern mixed with boho pieces. “A little camo, a little animal print,” says Downey. “It’s fun, playful. So many great fall colours right now—mustard, forest green, cabernet. Plus-sized women are used to going into a store and picking from black, black, black and grey. I was conscious of that. We still have a fair amount because it’s a great basic but we wanted to branch out.”

“People’s reaction is that it’s beautiful and they get excited. One girl said ‘I didn’t know clothes came in plus-size that were this pretty.’” says Downey. “That right there made it worth all the hard work.”
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Thursday, July 11, 2019

NS Kayak and ATV Outside Adventure Tours heads "out and away"

Chris White's sees his personalized kayak trips as a tool for adventure

Posted By on Thu, Jul 11, 2019 at 5:00 AM

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When Chris White was downsized from his outside sales job in 2017, he started thinking about what was next, how he would reinvent himself and what made him really happy. He took on a job as a bus driver for the flexibility to be active and outdoors—and wound up loving it—but this summer, he’s following his sense of adventure one step further. Next week, White officially launches his indie tour company, Nova Scotia Kayak and ATV Outside Adventures, inspired by the trips and treks he takes on his own.

“I’ve always been kayaking and for the last couple of years, even before I got downsized, I was thinking of something when I got to retirement,” he says of the idea. “I want to take people out and away.”

White’s packages are a bit choose-your-own-adventure style. “It’s going to be like putting a little puzzle together,” he says. “I’ll be getting people to tell me what they like to do.” Through the week, he plans to head out on kayak trips and will let his guests dictate where to go, whether it’s as close as Long Lake or anywhere from Sambro to the south shore’s epic coast. Packages range in length and can include food too—White is happy to cook up sandwiches and tea, barbecue and lobster boil or even brunch after a morning on the water. He can accommodate up to four passengers and does pickups anywhere in the HRM.

On the weekends, he’ll take it to the next level, offering premium trips for two that include transportation to the water on his side-by-side (in other words, a four-seater ATV). White says it isn’t a spectator sport—as a one-person operation, he expects his participants to, well, participate.

“I’m not teaching kayaking as much as I’m using it as a tool for adventure,” he says. “There are a lot of great kayak spots around, I’ve learned by going to them. When you’re in a kayak you’re the only one out there a lot of the time. You see the wildlife, you’re really out there in nature.” Find more info on White’s packages at nsoa.ca.
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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

There’s always room for dessert at Taiyaki 52

A new cafe brings taiyaki—and taiyaki ice cream—to the table

Posted By on Wed, Dec 20, 2017 at 5:57 PM


VIA ISTOCK
  • via iStock
Sophie Lee moved to Halifax from Vancouver about a year ago and the city immediately made an impression on her. “There was something quite different from larger cities,” she says. “People are really interested in local businesses and want to help each other succeed.”

It was that feeling, in combination with her experience in the food industry, that helped inspire her to open something of her own. Lee tapped into her sweeter side and dreamed up Taiyaki 52, a dessert cafe that’ll open at 2001 Brunswick Street (next door to Inkwell) in February and feature traditional, golden brown taiyaki cakes, with fillings like red bean and custard, as a centrepiece.

“Basically we’ll be selling Japanese, old-fashioned taiyaki—fish-shaped waffles—but sort of a fusion version. It’ll be similar to a waffle dessert plate, with fruit, whipped cream and syrups,” she says, citing the golden fish of New York’s Taiyaki NYC (we highly recommend looking it up) as a sort of muse. She also hopes to be serving taiyaki ice cream—AKA soft serve ice cream in a taiyaki cone—in the warmer months.

“I worked sushi restaurants for the longest time but wanted to create something more fun. Halifax, I think, is all about creativity.”

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Friday, October 7, 2016

Over the moon for Moon Moon Cosmetics

Downtown speciality shop brings Asian beauty essentials to Halifax.

Posted By on Fri, Oct 7, 2016 at 12:30 PM

VIA FACEBOOK
  • via Facebook

When Mengyi Bian hopped on a plane from China to start her business degree at Dalhousie, she wasn’t necessarily planning to set up shop in Halifax. But after spotting a niche, her entrepreneurial senses kicked in.

“I was thinking of bringing international to local,” she says of her idea for Moon Moon Cosmetics, a new store at Bishop's Landing (1475 Lower Water Street) offering Korean and Japanese products. A tiny but mighty space, Moon Moon sells brands you won’t find anywhere else in HRM, from face care to makeup, to electronic eyelash curlers, Bian tries to offer a wide variety. The biz opened two weeks ago, and has been steady with curious customers, she says.

“I spend a lot of time explaining what the products are,” says Bian, laughing. On the flip side, much of Moon Moon’s clientele have also been international students—people who are already familiar with these brands. The biggest obsession from Korean and Japanese beauty lovers? Sheet masks. Essentially a facial in a package, these thin cotton sheets are packed with nourishing vitamins used to hydrate, prevent acne, brighten and more. Prices start as low as $1.49 per mask— an affordable way to treat yo’ self.

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Monday, July 4, 2016

Hands-On Halifax is building on a dream

Halifax's community woodworking workshop makes room for hobbyist carpenters of all kinds

Posted By on Mon, Jul 4, 2016 at 12:36 PM

ISTOCK
  • iStock

Halifax’s first community woodworking workshop has found itself a home. Hands-On Halifax, a proposed place for at-home carpenters of all levels to work on their craft, will be moving into 6070 Almon Street (across from the behemoth Rona) in mid-July, doing some work, and opening to the public and its members a few weeks later.

Hands-On is the brainchild of Russell Zwicker, a newbie carpenter who after searching for classes and courses to help improve upon his own skills, decided to build exactly what he was looking for.

“I bought an old house a few years ago and really wanted to learn how to fix it myself. For the last four-ish years was looking for a way to get into that as a hobbyist and there just wasn’t anything available. There were no options for a drop-in or short class,” says Zwicker. “In the fall I ended up going to NSCC for their carpentry program, and I really enjoyed it, and wanted there to be a space that did something similar but was a lot less commitment.”

He reached out to the Halifax Makerspace, Halifax Tool Library and Bike Again, community workshops with similar goals, to talk about why such a place didn’t exist, or whether he just hadn’t found it. And everyone seemed to echo his sentiment—Halifax would be all the better for having a welcoming, accessible place to build. The soon-to-be Hands-On will offer its members a workshop space for people who don’t have the room at home to hammer away, tools you may not have access too (or have room to own (like saws, sanders, power tools and more basic hand tools), and will also offer classes of all kinds. And its in a spot ripe for collaboration— both the Tool Library and Bike Again have spaces in the Almon Street location, as well.

“It can just be a fun amusement for yourself. I have lots of friends that take like a pottery class, for six weeks or whatever, it can be the same sort of thing for woodworking,” says Zwicker. “My hope is to keep it very accessible for newbies. I know what I would have wanted years ago when i had no skills, and i know what i want now with some basic skills but a lot to learn.

If you're interested in teaching a workshop, or want more information on what’s to come, check out handsonhalifax.com.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Timber Lounge brings axe throwing to Agricola Street

It's going down

Posted By on Tue, Jan 26, 2016 at 1:15 PM

Darren Hudson (left) with pro lumberjack athlete and Halifax firefighter Darren Casey in the Timber Lounge
  • Darren Hudson (left) with pro lumberjack athlete and Halifax firefighter Darren Casey in the Timber Lounge

Darren Hudson hit the bullseye when he was delivering some Christmas gifts to a friend on Agricola Street back in December. As he exchanged season's greetings, the Barrington-based lumberjack (for real, he's a log-rolling champ and the man behind The Wild Axe Lumberjack AXEperience) mentioned casually that he was looking for a commercial space in Halifax. He wanted to open an axe throwing facility (think Toronto's popular hangout, BATL), preferably in the north end. It'd be a nod to his woodsy heritage and a space for people to socially and safely wield very sharp tools.

"How about that one?" his friend said, pointing across the street to 2710 Agricola, the former Metro Care & Share location.

"It was a miracle—the beauty moment of the whole inception of this," says Hudson of the accidental discovery of what will be the home of his sharpest idea yet— the Timber Lounge— come this spring.

"We are big time into the axe throwing culture, it’s proven to be a hot commodity," he says. "Lumberjack sports have been around in Nova Scotia for over 100 years, but the axe throwing is the highlight."

Hudson's been travelling the world competing in lumberjack sports for the past 20 years and on top of running The Lumberjack AXEperience, he's behind both a colouring book and a clothing line inspired by lumberjack life. The Timber Lounge will be an extension of this passion, offering Haligonians both a space to take in lumberjack shows and competitions, but also to suit up in doeskin and throw down for themselves. Along with testing your precision (or rage-throwing, if that's more your style), you'll be able to have a drink, a snack and socialize with fellow lumberfolk.

"Axe throwing is great because it's for everybody," says Hudson. "Within just one evening someone can get exceptionally good at it. This year I've seen six people throw a bullseye on their first throw, it’s such a gratifying feeling."

The Timber Lounge aims to be open for bookings in early spring.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Here, Kitty Kitty

Meow here this, a Halifax-based subscription box for cat lovers

Posted By on Tue, Aug 25, 2015 at 5:01 PM

Cat bro and and kitty and Kitty Kitty box - SUBMITTED
  • Cat bro and and kitty and Kitty Kitty box
  • submitted

“I don’t think I’ve ever said the word kitty so much in my whole fucking life,” laughs Kasey Chaulk. The entrepreneur behind the potty mouthed pop-up gift shop Frank & Folly is at it again, putting her gift-loving ways and wise wit to work with Kitty Kitty, a subscription box for feline lovers of all kinds.

“It started with Frank and Folly a bit. One of the things I noticed was that all of the quirky cat stuff we had got a lot of attention from people, and it was always my favourite stuff to curate,” says Chaulk, a cat person (and cat owner, of Hank) herself. Mixing the knowledge she’d gleaned from her past pop-ups with her intrigue when it came to the subscription box model, she came up with the idea for a cat-inspired project and spent the last few months planning.

Kitty Kitty, which claws its way into Haligonian hearts for the first time this week, from its table at the Just For Cats Film Festival, will fill its boxes with “a surprise or two for the felines, but mostly stuff for the human”—shirts, mugs, stationery, jewellery and other most wanted accessories. The curated surprise boxes will come in three sizes (ranging from two-to-three items, to the delux six-plus items) and will have monthly themes, like space kitty kitty, or retro kitty kitty. “One thing that’s interesting with cat lovers, is that it’s kind of a dichotomy,” says Chaulk. “They either have more than one cat, or can’t have a cat. We’re celebrating a cat lover in any form, no ownership required.” That also means giving back to the furry friends; every month Kitty Kitty will donate a portion of its earnings to indie cat-related charities.

If you don’t get a sneak peek at Kitty Kitty this weekend at the festival, you'll be able to pre-order your purrfect box starting mid-September. Or you can just wait patiently whilst staring at kittykittybox.com.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Sew cool, Bedford welcomes The Makinso

Making it work with sewing, crafts, clothing and workshops

Posted By on Wed, Aug 5, 2015 at 11:42 AM

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“I listen to podcasts all the time, and one was talking about whatever you love to do at 10 is what you should do as a grown up.” That sentiment makes a lot of sense for Jennifer Boyne, who’s been a sewing fanatic since she was making Barbie clothes at 10. A “maker by nature” who’s also a pro when it comes to knitting, needlepoint and making custom bespoke clothing, she’s making her 10-year-old self—and her family—very proud by opening Bedford’s first sewing supply shop and makery, The Makinso (1129 Bedford Highway).

“It’s a full retail space of fabrics, yarns and notions,” as well as indie patterns, unique craft supplies and bespoke clothing, says Boyne. She’ll also offer classes and workshops in the space, inviting students to either bring in their own machines, or use one of her four sergers and four sewing machines. “Sewing is for everyone,” she says. “The younger I can get people sewing, the better.”

After spending some time fixing up her harbourview space—the little yellow building that used to house Dapper Dogs—Boyne is hosting a sort of pop-up opening, from Monday, August 10 to Friday, August 13 (from 11am to 5pm). But her Makinso will officially open its doors full time on August 29. Start planning your fall projects now, Bedford. “I’m super passionate about this, it’s all I want to do. If I ever did anything else it wouldn’t be enough,” she says. “Making things is very rewarding.”

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Hop aboard Chebucto Water Taxi

Next stop, McNabs Island

Posted By on Sun, Jun 28, 2015 at 9:49 AM

click image VIA FACEBOOK
  • via Facebook

"I grew up sailing and canoeing on the North West Arm," says Alex Kawchuk. "It’s used recreationally, but as far as getting around the city it's more of an obstacle than anything." The recent urban planning grad is the captain behind Halifax harbour's newest arrival, Chebucto Water Taxi —a way that big body of water that makes our city so great a little more accessible.

Taking inspiration not only from his time on the Arm and in planning school, but a stint in BC—where water taxis are "a pretty established way of getting around"—Kawchuk has been plotting the idea for his business for the last couple of years. Cleary, making the harbour less of an obstacle, and more of a thoroughfare is something that's been on more minds than his—King's Wharf's own water taxi kicks off this week, making trips between the Fares-owned properties on the Dartmouth waterfront and the Halifax waterfront, and eventually McNabs island. It'll also be a public service, operating out of two enclosed 12-passenger boats.

Chebucto Water Taxis's Transport-Canada-licensed operators (that's Kawchuk and two other employees) can take up to six passengers at a time in their 16-foot zodiacs and can pick up and drop off at any public dock, and also beaches like Point Pleasant's Black Rock Beach, and various parts of McNabs Island (which Kawchuk says has been the most popular destination thus far). "Just think of it like a normal taxi," says Kawchuk—whether you're looking to explore a little on the weekend, or want to make your morning commute from Herring Cove Road a little more interesting—meaning, you can book your ride n advance to get a specific time, or book day-of and run the risk of a short wait.

Check out Chebucto Water Taxi's hours of operation here (priority is given to North West Arm commuters from 7:30am-9:30am and 4:30pm-6:30pm), and fares here (keep in mind they are subject to change), and think about hitting the harbour.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Sorry veggies, flowers are the new CSA

Humble Burdock Farms can hook you up with weekly bouquets, all summer long

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2015 at 11:15 AM

Humble Burdock's fresh tulips
  • Humble Burdock's fresh tulips

“I actually went to art school for drawing and painting, and I couldn’t find that connection between colour and getting outside in the natural world. I didn’t realize flowers would be the colour palate I get to paint with,” says Amanda Muis Brown of Humble Burdock Farms, a flower farm and design studio that specializes in seasonal flowers and wedding design.

You might also recognize the name (and the flowers) from Saturday mornings at the Historic Farmers’ Market (1496 Lower Water Street), but Humble Burdock is branching out a bit this spring and summer, offering a Floral CSA, like your standard veggie CSA (community supported agriculture), except your pick-up is an ever-changing seasonal bouquet.

“We don’t always know what we’re going to have, it’s all about seasonality. I think that’s what makes it so fun,” says Muis Brown, a self-proclaimed flower fanatic who grows over 100 types of flowers in the Annapolis Valley. Right now, it’s tulip and daffodil season, but she says the lush bouquets she sends out will change a lot over the 16 weeks that the CSA runs. "You just have to grow with the flow," she adds, laughing.

The summer session kicks off July 1 with the option for either weekly or bi-weekly bouquets, that'll be available for pick-up at Local Source (2530 Agricola Street) on Wednesdays. For prices, and details on how to sign up read Muis Brown's detailed manifesto.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Seven Bays Bouldering is ready to rock Gottingen

Climbing walls + cafe

Posted By on Wed, Dec 10, 2014 at 12:46 PM

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The gutted shell of what was once home to Raceway Auto Centre's seven bay garage (2019 Gottingen Street, next to Propeller Brewing Co.) will soon be the north end's newest source of entertainment, and exercise—Seven Bays Bouldering is set to open this spring.

The idea for an east coast spin-off of Montreal's Allez Up came to be after the popular climbing gym opened a brand new facility in 2012. "We felt like we kind of had the wind in our sails and we wanted to do something else," says Jean-Marc de la Plante, whose family owns the business. After doing some market research the Richer-de la Plante's decided Halifax needed an accessible spot to climb, in the heart of the city. "There is really good outdoor bouldering here, there's a strong community but a lack of urban facilities."

Thanks to family, friends and connections in town, local climbing enthusiast Hana Ogasawara—who also had ambitions to open her own gym in the north end—came into the picture. "That really spawned the project, knowing that we had the connection with someone who could be here full time," says de la Plante. "We really don't want it to be an elitist gym. She's a hardcore climber, but she kind of shares a humble approach."

After searching for the perfect spot, the Allez Up crew landed on 2019 Gottingen, seeing major potential not only in its location, but the bright windowy garage doors that what would be the gym's namesake. Currently, they're working together with routesetter Tonde Katiyo and Canadian wall-building company B-121 to map out how Seven Bays' bouldering walls will look.

But it'll be more than just a spot to climb. Taking a hint from his Montreal customers' requests, de la Plante says that the new space will also house a cafe that'll serve great coffee, snacks and beer, making Seven Bays even more of a place to hang out and also a place to unwind (and re-fuel) post bouldering. "I've been here for a month-and-a-half or two months and it's ben fun joining the north end community and meeting other business owners," says de la Plante. Seven Bays aims to be open in March.

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Feet-ure presentation: Julien's sock drive

Bring a pair to the Seaport this weekend!

Posted By on Thu, Dec 4, 2014 at 10:51 AM

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In the spirit of ice-cold toes and all of the giving that goes on during this month, Barb Mulrooney—a friendly face you might recognize from Julien’s Bakery’s stall at the Seaport Farmers‘ Market (1209 Marginal Road)—is holding her second annual sock drive for Shelter Nova Scotia and the Mobile Outreach Street Health program this Saturday, December 6.

Julien’s and Mulrooney will be accepting men’s, women’s and children’s socks (preferably new ones) all day from her market stall. Last year, she collected 553 pairs and hopes to make an even bigger difference this year. “It really doesn’t take much,” she says. “If everyone that came to the market brought one pair of socks with them, it would do them for a year.”

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

The wonderful Glitch Wizard

A Halifax-made app you're going to want to download

Posted By on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 4:52 PM

Glitch Wizard at work
  • Glitch Wizard at work

Have you ever thought about how much your iPhone kind of feels like a phaser? Halifax programmer Allan Lavell has. And between imagining casting spells with his device and being really into glitch art he’s created a new app that’ll give you magic power when it comes to your photos. Lavell’s company with fellow programmer Connor Bell, ThinkRad, launches Glitch Wizard—just one of two glitch-art apps available for iPhone—Tuesday via the iTunes store.

But this isn’t your typical filter. “Its not the kind of app that’s going to make your girlfriend look hotter, or your moments look nicer,” says Lavell, laughing. “I’m hoping it’ll serve as a nice introduction to glitch art for people.” On top of warping, twisting and bringing out the secrets in your boring old photos, Glitch Wizard will also grant you the ability to them into animated GIFs (!!!), and then the ability to show them off all over your social networks.

Though you can’t get your thumbs on Glitch Wizard until next week, ThinkRad’ll be celebrating its arrival this Saturday at 8pm at Volta Labs (5415 Spring Garden Road), where you’ll be able to check out a teaser trailer for the app, drink beer, take in the stylings of PINEO and capture loads of memories you can glitch the shit out of later.

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Creative Editions: your monthly art subscription

Argyle Fine Art's local art CSA

Posted By on Thu, Aug 7, 2014 at 11:37 AM

Crystal Ross and Adriana Afford wanna send you art once a month - VIA ARGYLE FINE ART
  • Crystal Ross and Adriana Afford wanna send you art once a month
  • via Argyle Fine Art

Always working hard to get more people to buy more art Adriana Afford and Crystal Ross, team Argyle Fine Art (1559 Barrington Street), have launched a really great new program inspired by the Community Supported Agriculture model. But, instead of unpacking loads of cilantro from your CSA, you’ll get a fresh piece of art monthly, kind of like opening your food box to find blueberries (AKA winning the CSA lottery).

Creative Editions works like this: subscribers choose either six months ($75 or $115 with shipping) or one year ($120, or $195 with shipping) and in return receive a limited edition six-by-nine print—works that are only available to subscribers. Prints will be released 15th of every month, kicking off August 15...so interested parties must hop to it! Show your stark walls some love and subscribe via 425-9456 or gallery@argylefa.com.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

North by Night Market time

Friday the 13th—the beginning of a great north end tradition

Posted By on Wed, Jun 11, 2014 at 6:19 PM

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“Night markets are really common all over the world in larger cities,” says the Food Wolf‘s Natalie Chavarie. “This is the start of an idea that'll express itself into a full blown north end farmers market in two years.” She’s talking about this Friday's (June 13) North by Night Market—an event that the Food Wolf and web design/innovation firm Norex have cooked up.

They’ll co-present North by Night on the second Friday of the month, rain or shine, until September. The corner of Gottingen and Falkland street, which the Food Wolf has lovingly dubbed Squiggle Park, will host loads of action for the inaugural event, like the Halifax Press, fresh veggies, tarot readings, henna, Manual Coffee, vintage clothes, a lemonade stand from EDNA, Agricola Street Brasserie’s cotton candy stand, the Food Wolf and some surprises, too. Basically, it’s going to be magical.

“There are a lot of medium and small businesses in the north end and it’s our job as a small business to create a cradle for smaller vendors to exist,” says Chevarie. Stop by Squiggle from 8pm to 11pm to get in on the good times, and make sure to hashtag it #NXNMRKT.

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