And judging by the smiling crowds strolling the streets each Second Saturday, that concept has made the event one of the most popular on the entire Mississippi Gulf Coast. Adding to the allure, each month two different Old Town merchants are tagged as “Hot Spots.” For the July 9th Second Saturday, the spotlight falls on Clay Creations and You’re Invited.
One of the oldest continuously operating businesses in Old Town, Clay Creations is the brainchild of artist Jenise McCardell, who’s been fashioning small ceramic sculptures of regional homes, schools and churches along the Gulf Coast since 1980. The business has become a family affair through the years, as McCardell’s been joined by her husband, potter Mark Currier and daughter Devon.
“People collect memories through my art,” said McCardell. “My favorite creations are custom pieces I make for customers who provide photos of their homes or businesses.”
Both the Clay Creations working studio and gallery – where over 1000 different designs are on display – are located at 220 Main Street, in Gallery 220. McCardell owns the show-stopping art deco building, sharing the space with over twenty other artists in the cooperative venture.
As one of the July Hot Spots, Clay Creations is hosting their annual salad contest, with local patrons and Gallery 220 artists bringing in their favorite culinary masterpieces. Winners will be awarded a plaque depicting the Waveland Garfield Ladner Fishing Pier, one of McCardell’s latest designs.
“After the salad judging, gallery visitors get to eat the entries,” said McCardell, laughing. “We’ll also have live music by the fabulous Desoto Band from New Orleans, so ya’ll come on down!”
A block away at 111B Main Street, the name of the featured business says it all: “You’re Invited!” Owner Beverly Diaz presides over a shop brimming with innovative invitations, stationary and cards. You’re Invited has been an Old Town favorite for over nine years, offering a service that is unique on the Gulf Coast. Customers can choose from hundreds of blank invitation designs for all occasions – bridal, dinner and cocktail parties, baby announcements, birthday, and anniversary celebrations. Later the same day, the completed invites are ready for mailing, with the wording of their choice printed on the cards.
Not that the choice will be easy. Diaz stocks an enormous number of designs, ranging from sophisticated to whimsical. Kids will be mesmerized by the fanciful cupcake, frog and flip-flop invitations, while brides-to-be can opt for either elegant or light-hearted announcements. New products include creations by Lilly Pulitzer, Casparia, Paula Skene and Fauz Design.
To celebrate her Hot Spot status, Diaz will be serving “exceptional” food throughout the evening with music and a DJ. Three other neighbors at the 111 Main Street location have joined You’re Invited in hosting a free hourly drawing, from 4-8pm. Simply by signing up, shoppers will have a chance at a gift from one of the shops.
Other notable Second Saturday “Don’t Miss” activities include:
- Americas Vacation Center, 131 Main Street – Preview pricing of a new cruise line departing from New Orleans – Royal Caribbean - great ship and itinerary.
- Bay Books, 131 Main Street, Suite B – Book signings with Frank Wilem, author of The Keys, from 3pm – 5pm, and with John Cuevas, author of Cat Island, from 5pm – 7pm.
- Bay Breeze, 111A Main Street – launching new community bike fleet with a dignitaries race at 6pm on Gex Street next to courthouse. New paddleboards and kayaks for sale or rent, new home décor items and refreshments.
- Edward H. Wikoff, AIA Architects, 144 Main Street – Highlighting Nora Wikoff’s new business “Shop Your Attic,” a service that takes advantage of everyone’s current possessions by repurposing treasured household objects into a new look for your home.
- Fiesta, 131 Main Street – Restocked with Angel Blouses and vanilla, new line of Gothic Cameo jewelry and a special benefit for the Hancock Food Pantry.
- Identity Vintage, 131 Main Street – New shipment of vintage ladies apparel and jewelry/hair accessories from Organized Chaos (by Kayla Bordelon of Waveland).
- Twin Lights Creations, 136 Main Street – Add balance to your garden with an ever-expanding selection of metal art that dance in the wind.
- Uptown Interiors, 111D Main Street – Book signing by MasterChef winner--Whitney Miller for her newly released cookbook, Modern Hospit