Friday, May 21, 2010

Fenton Street Market in Silver Spring offers wares not found at big-box stores - Washington Post

Friday, May 21, 2010

Scenario One:

"Cool necklace! Where did you get it?"

"Ann Taylor Loft in Silver Spring."

Scenario Two:

"Cool necklace! Where did you get it?"

"The Fenton Street Market in Silver Spring."

If the idea of being a hip consumer, one who supports artisans and independent businesses, appeals, then this weekend go shopping where you can be sure to walk away with something you won't see anyone else in the neighborhood wearing.

The new Fenton Street Market is just a few blocks from downtown Silver Spring and yet miles and miles from the brand-name stores that line the city's walking mall. On a recent Saturday, onetime graduate school English majors Heather Rellihan and Kelley Squazzo sold their casual and fun handbags, cutely called "Pocketful of Posy," Julianne Fuchs-Musgrave sold her "wearable art," bags, accessories and shirts made from reclaimed material, and Layla Niebrugge sold silver jewelry with a nature theme. Hand-painted note cards, antique tables, leather baseball hats, old LPs, a crocheted poncho: Unique is the word for this market.

Variety is another word. Every week, about half of the 50 to 60 vendors are new. Prices run from a couple of dollars to a couple of hundred dollars.

Don't miss the food. You might have to wait in line for a homemade doughnut or crepe, but do it. Sweet or savory, the crepes are fresh and the doughnuts sweet. (Ask for chocolate sauce on your doughnut for a supreme sugar rush.)

If that's not enough, the market features a different local band every week to complete the community feeling.

This is the first full season for the market, which was started by Silver Spring resident Hannah McCann in the vacant parking lot that is slated to become a Marriott Hotel. This week, architects will be at the market to discuss the future of Silver Spring. Bring your ideas along with your wallet.

Continue your corporation-free day and buy a non-Starbucks cup of joe at Highland Origin Coffee across the street from the market. Or for something a little different, and a lot refreshing, try Highland's Italian cream soda, flavored any way you want.

-- Moira E. McLaughlin

Where is it? The corner of Silver Spring Avenue and Fenton Street, 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. every Saturday. Free neighborhood parking is available around the market.

How much? Free -- until you buy something of course!

What else? Want to eat local as well as wear local? Walk to the Silver Spring mall for fresh produce. The Silver Spring Farmers Market runs 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday on Ellsworth Drive between Fenton Street and Georgia Avenue. For another opportunity to check out (and buy) unique crafts, stop by Handmade Mart from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday also on Ellsworth between Fenton and Georgia.

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