The Hester Street Fair wrapped its seventh season on the Lower East Side last month. But the gang has big plans for the off-season, beginning with today’s kickoff of a holiday market at the South Street Seaport.
It will operate at 117 Beekman St. through Dec. 24 (11 a.m.-8 p.m.) The Hester Street Fair has rounded up 30 of their favorite independent designers and artisans for the holiday market. Each weekend, they’ll also be offering special programming (a food and music series) in the outdoor plaza.
This past season, Christina Yugai, Elise McMahon and David Komerek took the lead in organizing the weekly LES fair. We stopped by on their closing weekend, Oct. 29, to talk with McMahon and Yugai. They are looking forward to returning next year for an eighth season on the Lower East Side. In 2016, they found success with special events programming, such as Jamaican Independence Day and the Casual Art Show. You can expect more happenings of this type in 2017. The team was new to the NYC market game this year. Said Yugai, “We definitely learned that it is competitive. Special programming is key.”
Summer 2016 on Hester Street. Photo via the Hester Street Fair’s Instagram.
The Hester Street Fair will be winding down its 7th season in style this coming weekend with a double header.
On Saturday, a lot of this year’s top vendors and some newbies will be on hand, including: Honey’s and Enlightenment Wines, Awkward Scone, Tuson Sate, Rudy’s Deli, Don Don NYC, Carnal BK and Eat Chic Chocolates, They’ll have harvest-themed workshops (pumpkin carving and apple dipping), plus $3 Tiger beers and live music.
On Sunday, the gang will host a dance party with with a performance by Sacred Elevators (see video). Naomi Clark of Fort Makers will be creating a 150 foot painting, plus there will be a tarot reading lesson, jewelry, artist-made furniture and vintage clothing by Ladies of Clarion. Raw Material (formerly Black Tree) will be serving up fried chicken, there will be bento boxes and miso soup by Chi-So NYC and more Tiger Beer.
The Hester Street Fair takes place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the space next to Seward Park at Essex and Hester streets.
Kareem Hamady, Julian Plyter at the Hester Street Fair in 2011.
You might recognize these guys — Kareem Hamady and Julian Plyter of Melt Bakery. This photo was taken in 2011 at the Hester Street Fair, where the business got its start before opening an Orchard Street production facility and retail store. Over the years, the organization has helped launch numerous entrepreneurial ventures. This coming weekend the Hester Street Fair will be celebrating home grown businesses such as Melt. Saturday’s special event has been dubbed, “We Started Here.”
Among the vendors making a return: Don Don, Rudy’s Deli, Hunt and Gather Shop, Crepe Refinery, Sak Pase, Tuson Sate, Matzah brei, Dandy Farmer, CMY Look, Two Good Traders (the Fat Radish), Macaron Parlour, Melt Bakery, Gordo’s Cantina, Osaka Grub, Peetie’s Pie, La New Yorkina, Arancini Bros and Cheeky Sandwiches.
They will also have a beer garden, sponsored by Tiger Beer, live music and games. The Hester Street Fair is located at Hester and Essex streets. Hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Hester Street Fair has always served as an incubator for new ideas. Now its organizers are hosting an event designed specifically to discover “the next best thing in NYC street food.” Here’s more on the Hester Street Test Kitchen, coming up this weekend:
Since its inception seven years ago the Hester Street Fair has been recognized for starting many businesses, including several amazing restaurants on the Lower East Side and around NYC. Keeping true to its roots and fueling the spirit of entrepreneurship, Hester Street Fair is having their first annual “Test Kitchen” for all first time creations, including first time food vendors and established businesses and restaurants, who want to pilot test a new item on their menu, new product, flavor, etc. There will be a panel of judges and three winners who will get a free booth to be a vendor at their 7th annual Grub Street Food Festival, happening on Saturday, October 1st and other prizes. This event will take place on Saturday September 3rd – 11am to 6pm. Judges will be present from 2pm – 3pm with winners announced at 4pm. Winners will be judged on originality, presentation including branding and of course taste!
It’s a double-header at the Hester Street Fair this weekend.
On Saturday, they’re throwing a party for Jamaican Independence Day. Sean John of Orchard Street restaurant, Spur Tree, will be cooking up traditional Jamaican fare ($10/per plate) and you can purchase Guinness bottles for $3. There will be DJ’s, including Rockers NYC, Jonny Go Figure, Deadly Dragon, Queen Majesty and Damon Degraff.
Then on Sunday, there will be a special nighttime version of the Hester Street Fair. Starting at 5 p.m., the guys at Black Tree (another Orchard Street mainstay) will be serving up blue fish tacos, Oysters Rockefeller and sweet corn with miso butter and hot honey (plates are $10). Performances kick off at 6 p.m. with Miho Hatori (best known as the vocalist from Cibo Mato) and avante garde composer and performer Patrick Higgins. As the dun goes down, there will be a “visual and musical experience” with the collaborative project of Portland, Oregon based group MSHR. Their live performances utilize a “unique system of light-audio feedback that employs hand made analog synthesizers and sculptural light interfaces.”
If you’ve looked ahead to the weekend weather forecast, you already know we’re going to see 90 degrees on Saturday. This means the timing could not be more perfect for the Hester Street Fair’s Ice Cream Social.
This year’s participating vendors include Ice & Vice, J-Rock’s Excellent Ice Cream, Il Buco Alimentari, Mikey Likes It, Noona’s and Tipsy Scoop. There will be a friendly/fierce competition. You can become a judge by purchasing a $10 “sampling ticket.” More info here.
Also on Saturday, there will be a sorbet-making workshop. The Hester Street Fair is open 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
This coming Saturday, the Hester Street Fair will kick off its seventh season on the Lower East Side. The 2016 season will bring some new twists, but also a return to the local market’s roots as an entrepreneurial incubator.
As in the past, the fair will offer a mix of design, art, fashion and food. There will also be a new focus on workshops this year, and several special events on Sundays.
On the food front, you’ll be seeing newcomers such as EN Brasserie, the popular Japanese spot in the West Village; Scarr’s Pizza, the new retro slice joint on Orchard Street and Gordo’s Cantina of Brooklyn. Special theme days will include a tomato canning day, an ice cream social and “Watermelon Day.” Plus, the crew is planning a Kosher cook-out, a Vegan Food Festival and a Jamaican Independence Day event.
We mentioned workshops. They’ll include Jaquard Products, offering hands-on marbling and tie-dyeing from artist Daniele Fraizer, shoe-making by Chickpea Kids and a fermenting class with chef Laila Gohar.
There’s a new team behind the scenes at the Hester Street Fair, joining co-founder Ron Castellano. They include Christina Yugai, Elise McMahon and David Komerek. We checked in with them a few days ago to talk about the relaunch of the market for 2016. They told us the goal is to celebrate local businesses (some of which the fair has helped launch over the years), while adding new vendors and programming from throughout the city. There will even be a global bent to some of the new programs. Throughout the season, they hope to celebrate some HSF vets who now have brick-and-mortar locations in the community. A new website will be launching soon.
The 2016 season will run from May 14th to October 29th, with Saturday markets from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and special events on select Sundays. The fair is located at the intersection of Essex and Hester streets.