As a maker and business owner who creates high-quality T-shirts inspired by the city, Kovach has recognized the need for local artists, creators and business owners to have more opportunity to reach potential customers and promote their products.
But when she searched for a holiday-inspired outlet this year and came up short, she took it upon herself to create a new opportunity.
“This is just something I am doing because I think it’s worthwhile,” says Kovach. Her initial idea for the event was a storefront-like operation, similar to the 116 King Seasonal Pop-Up, where attendees could buy local products from a few different Alexandria-based makers.
Instead, she went with an outdoor pop-up for more versatility and space, and asked to “invade the space” of the local brewery so attendees could enjoy shopping and sipping for a one-day event.
The 25 on-site vendors will be selling all types of products, from hand-decorated tree ornaments to specialized spice blends, and hosting workshops throughout the day to teach attendees how to make their own holiday-inspired creations. One allows participants to paint their own ornaments and take them home, and another is a hands-on creation of bath bombs.
“There are local experts all around that people don’t realize,” says Kovach. “They are an expert by every definition of the word, and they have a lot of experience to share. I want people to walk away with the skills and the idea that they learned something new.”
Kovach can’t stress enough what events like this mean to local makers. Shopping locally is important, she says, because there are positive emotional, economic and environmental impacts.
“You’re supporting your neighbors, your friends and your family. When you shop local, it stays local,” says Kovach. “And I think in terms of a holiday market, you want to get a unique gift to give to someone. I pour my heart into designing things and if you think that’s going to work well as a gift, then you have the story behind it too.”
After rounding out the 25 vendors for the event, the doubts Kovach had when the idea was in its primary stages disappeared. She stuck to her original goal (regardless of what the event would look like): All 25 vendors attending are from Alexandria.
“We have some really amazing events in Alexandria [for makers], but that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone is local. Sometimes people travel hours to be at those events. So I just thought, what if we just keep it all Alexandria-based?,” says Kovach.
Attendees will find animal illustrations from Blue Lark Designs, live plants in decorative containers from FLORA Roots & Stems, women’s accessories from Modern Tally, and even liquor bottles that have been transformed into candles from Liquidated Glassets.
The event is free to attend, although you clearly won’t want to forget your wallet. Parking might be a bit of a challenge since the pop-up is taking over Port City’s parking lot, but street parking is available in the area. Be sure to purchase tickets to the workshops online before attending.
Also, the event is open to all ages at the brewery, so kids, friends and family members are all welcome, even if they’ve already checked everyone off of their list for holiday shopping.
If all goes well on Saturday, Kovach says, “I definitely want to hold more events like this in the future.” // Port City Brewing: 3950 Wheeler Ave., Alexandria; Nov. 24, noon-6 p.m.; free
For more shopping events, things to do and holiday content, subscribe to our newsletters.