The second Saturday in May marked Downtown Brillion’s time to welcome in the crowds, turn up the music and get a little weird.
Bazaar After Dark, an event of the Pulse Young Professionals Network, rolled into downtown Brillion for the first of its three 2019 events. The May 11 event packed the streets for its unique assemblage of shopping, services and entertainment.
The night-time market once again served up the arts, the eclectic and a host of curiosities to grab hold of revelers.
There were elements of the old-fashioned sideshow as a knife juggler caught plenty eyes in addition to his sharpened implements. Aerial dancers enchanted passersby and snake rescuer Steve Keller gave visitors close encounters with the serpentine world.
There was beer, street food and live music. Those who came in with a little stress could loosen up with a massage while the curious could sit down for a Tarot reading and purchase a spell kit.
“This is definitely different than your typical arts and crafts show; that’s for sure,” said vendor Steven Little.
His stand, SKL Unique Gifts, offered clocks and bowls made from vinyl records as well as lamps built of old cassettes.
For painter Jodie Naze, her role during the event transformed into performance artist. Her contribution, however, should last a generation or more.
Naze was chosen to paint a mural for the community as part of the bazaar. It was her largest project to date, her first mural, and by far, her most public contribution of art. She was more used to painting for friends. She felt a strong sense of responsibility in adding a work to a community’s landscape.
“I’m nervous,” she said. “I want to do something that the community is proud of and wants to have here.”
Her piece, entitled “Brillion Pride,” features a warm interaction between a lion and butterfly. She drew inspiration from the high school mascot. The flowers were intended to blend with the floral business on which its painted, and at ground level, provide viewers with an opportunity to interact.
Naze put 10 hours into the project the day prior to the bazaar in effort to give revelers a chance to see the bigger picture as she worked on detail from her scissor lift as the event unfolded.
Keller, who’s become known as our region’s snake whisperer, continually had a crowd around him as kids – both young and old – waited for their opportunity to hold and interact with one of his friends. The popular among them was The Spook, an Australian carpet python.
For Keller, it was one more opportunity to educate the public on a misunderstood member of the animal world. He encouraged an apprehensive youngster who wanted to interact, but had a little trouble crossing that fear barrier.
“I haven’t lost a kid yet,” Keller told him, “so you’re pretty safe.”
As another shared her fear of a bite. He reminded that birds bite, dogs bite and so do cats.
“Snakes are gentle animals and they get some pretty bad PR,” he said.
Pulse, a program of the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce, devised the bazaars as opportunities to draw attention to underappreciated business districts in the region. Past events have been held in Neenah, Menasha and along Appleton’s Wisconsin Avenue.
The next bazaar will take place on July 31 in Little Chute. They’ve proven to be welcome escapes from the routine.
Vendors just as much as their customers relished the opportunity to be part of something a little bit different.
“This is right in line with what I’m doing,” Little said. “I love it.”