Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Celebrate Local aims to support local artists and independent businesses

CW File
Celebrate Local is a yearly event that recognizes local business owners and artists.

Tuscaloosa River Market hosted the seventh year of Celebrate Local on Tuesday. The event aimed to recognize local artists and independent businesses within the Tuscaloosa community. Each year since 2017, business owners and artists have come together for this public event to help spread their work and missions. 

Upon walking into the Tuscaloosa River Market, visitors were welcomed with the sound of friendly conversations and the warm smell of baked goods, candles, soaps and other handmade items.

The personal connection between community members and vendors forms an irreplicable experience that one cannot likely gain from shopping with larger companies. 

Kaite Johnson, who represented Zaria at the event, a women’s clothing and accessories store, spoke about the community of Celebrate Local.

“We have already seen some faces that are really nice to see again, as well as met and connected with a lot of other local businesses,” Johnson said. “It’s great to feel a part of the community.”

Zaria is a rebrand of Azwell, which was located in Midtown Village. It has since moved downtown and is open Monday through Saturday. Outside of its main offerings, the store has sorority pieces and gameday bags that Johnson said are perfect for college students. 

Other merchants attended the event to show their hand-made products.

Hope Hood, owner of the soap and body butters shop Hope K Products, has been doing events since 2022 and enjoys markets like Celebrate Local for their support and community.

Hood said her products are good for anyone struggling with sensitive skin or skin disorders.

“My son has eczema and he would always complain about the store-bought products, so I started making my own and the whole household uses all of my products,” Hood said. 

The event also showcased local nonprofits like the Metro Animal Shelter.

The shelter brought animals and merchandise to the event for visitors to learn more about the shelter and build connections with some of their animals.

Events like Celebrate Local help spread the message of the shelter, said Paula Vega, an adoption coordinator.

“Right now we kind of have an overpopulation, overcrowding of cats and dogs due to summer,” Vega said. “So we’re here to get some information out, see if we can get some people to adopt, foster, volunteer, really whatever works for them to help us.”

Community members interested in more local shopping can find upcoming art showcases through the Kentuck Art Center’s website

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