Wanting to promote a further sense of area pride and discover what to do for hobbies and entertainment, organizers are preparing for the First annual Glocester Galleria that will take place at Harmony Marketplace, 401 Putnam Pike, Harmony, RI. The event opens at 9:00 a.m. and continues until 2:00 p.m.
This free event will feature some two-dozen vendors ranging from clothing, handmade soaps, essential oils and other holistic products, jewelry, fine art, home décor and farm fresh favorites. Popular local band The MillRats, which blends Country, Blues and Rock and Roll genres, will provide the entertainment from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Laurie Gaddis Barrett, one of the co-organizers of the event with Katie Guilbault, said the inspiration for this event came from Guilbault. She said Guilbault likes the idea of the “putting your money where your heart is” philosophy and wanted to find an outlet for local businesses to show off their skills. From there, the enthusiasm and support from the community led to the realization of the gathering actually happening, said Barrett.
“Over the last few years, I noticed the town blossoming with community spirit, and I wanted to be part of its continued growth,” Guilbault said. “I always loved the happy and positive atmosphere of farmer’s markets and music festivals and wanted to create an event that had something for everyone to enjoy.”
Barrett echoed those sentiments in putting an event of this type into motion.
“It was Katie’s idea to start some type of festival in town that shows its support for the local artisans, crafter and other businesses in the areas,” said Barrett, who is the owner/founder of a clothing design firm. Guilbault is a local artist. “The Pavilion at Kent Field is such a beautiful spot. We hope to fill it with vendors, food trucks, fun things for kids to do and music.
“Come shopping at the Glocester Galleria, then have a picnic on the lawn while listening to great music,” she continued. “We envisioned an event that the town would be excited to participate in and have a good time.”
Barrett said they are happy with the number of vendors that have signed up to date. They are hoping to have some 50 vendors from the region. Participating vendors will be listed on The Glocester Galleria’s Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/GlocesterGalleria), which will be updated regularly. Vendors will also be promoted on that page through a feature vignette.
Local merchants Chepachet Village Wine and Spirits, Cady’s Tavern, Fred Wilkes and Tavern on Main are lending their support to this event.
Another goal the organizers want to achieve is buying and shopping local. Most people know and like the national brands of items, products and services, Barrett said. However, they also have a shorter shelf life and might have additional uses, she added. Attending events such as this one may open more than a few eyes to the options that are out there, she said.
“There’s a fashion revolution going on right now,” Barrett said. “People want to know who made their clothes. The average person just wants a good-looking, high-quality shirt that isn’t see-through and lasts more than three months. We live in an era of disposable clothing. Why not buy a quality, hand-crafted item that can be worn two or three different ways and that you can expect to last through more than four washes?
“Add to that all the food recalls from national food distributors, I mean, you can’t even purchase lettuce anymore without fear of bacterial contamination from one source or another,” Barrett continued. “I want to know the farmer that grows my vegetables. I’d rather give my money to my neighbor than to a corporation, and here in Northern Rhode Island, there are many others that feel the same way.
“Wouldn’t it be fun to learn how to shop local and meet local vendors and be more affiliated with people in town?” Barrett added. “Many of the vendors and sponsors grew up here and want to become more active in this community. What could be a better cause than that?”
Sponsorships are still available for this event. They cost $100 and all sponsors will be recognized at the event. Becoming a vendor costs $20 and all applicants must be licensed and pass a background check.
Event admission is free to the public. More details can be found on their Facebook page at: www.Facebook.com/GlocesterGalleria. Information regarding sponsorship and vendor opportunities can be obtained by contacting either Barrett at email@example.com or Guilbault at firstname.lastname@example.org.