Riverside Arts Market – Kid Friendly and Mom’s Favorite

The Riverside Arts Market always has something new! Tons of activities, kid-themed vendors, balloon artists and face painters. Nobody complaints about being bored here!

Watch Riverside Arts Market:

Need something to do this Saturday?  If you haven’t had a chance to visit the Riverside Arts Market in Jacksonville, Florida, you must check it out!  Come rain or shine, this market is open every Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm.  Things can get pretty hot in Jacksonville, but this the market takes place under the Warren Fuller Bridge which offers a nice cool shade even during those hot summer months.  Arrive by boat, trolley or bike!  Families can visit the market by water taxi from Jacksonville Landing or South Dock at Friendship Fountain, by taking the trolley to the market or by bike as they offer free bike valet!

About Riverside Arts Market (RAM)

Inspired by Portland Saturday Market, the concept came from Dr. Wayne Wood founder of the Riverside Avondale Preservation (RAP).  When visiting this market he thought the idea of an outdoor market taking place under a bridge was genius as the market could run. Fun without sun, no matter if it is raining.  He wanted to adapt this concept under Jacksonville’s Fuller Warren Bridge that was currently in the planning stage of being either replaced or rebuilt.

Dr. Wood convinced the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to support this project by using the under bridge landscaping funds for Fuller Warren Bridge to accommodate an arts market amenities and requirements.  It was decided that under the bridge they would build a parking lot for Fidelity National Financial, which is located next door to the bridge, and have it support the arts market on the weekend as well.  And so Riverside Arts Market was born!

With Architect Melody Bishop (a former chairman of RAP) selected as the architect for the riverwalk connecting downtown to the bridge, they were able to integrate the arts market with riverfront pedestrian corridor.  Utilities for booths such as lighting and visually attractive festival spaces were integrated.  Parking spaces become artist spaces each Saturday.  Restrooms were built and a riverfront performance stage was put in for weekly entertainment.

A Shopper’s Delight

If you are looking for a unique, truly special gift, the Riverside Arts Market is where you will most likely find it.  With more than 100 juried artists that showcase handmade jewelry, pottery, paintings and everything in between you are sure to find that perfect gift for someone and also pick up a few items for yourself.  The vendors are ever changing so each market is different week to week.  Vendors can sign up and submit an application to be approved.  RAM does not allow wholesalers or resellers.  Sellers can then choose how often they would like to show at the market.  So if you see something you like its best to pick it up then because they may not be there next week!

What makes shopping at RAM even more special is the opportunity to talk to vendors about their craft.  When most creators tend to be evasive about how they made their item, it has been said that many of the artists there are very open to discuss their pieces and have even given tips on their process.  You can really tell the love and the passion these artists have for their crafts.  You will feel more like a guest than a customer when visiting these booths.

Not only can you find beautiful handcrafted items and art at RAM but you will also be delighted to find delicious treats in their Farmers Market.  They feature local farms such as Down to Earth and Black Hog where not only can you find fresh produce such as herbs and unusual plants but also find baked goods too.

Fun Themes at Riverside Arts Market

Arf Barket is a dog themed event that takes place at the end of the summer where you can find pet themed vendors.  They have an awesome pet parade, costume contest and a splash pool that all of your furry friends can run around and cool down in.  Local animal shelters, veterinarians and other animal interest organizations can be found during this dog-tastic event!

Is sci-fi and fantasy more up your alley?  In the fall Riverside Arts Market is host to RAMI-Con.  During this event you will find vendors who have an interest in all things geek related!  Vendors specializing in sci-fi collectables, comic books and any other favorite nerdy related goods will all convene on this special weekend at RAM.  Not only can you do some spectacular shopping but there is even a fun costume contest that takes place.  So if you have a Storm Trooper costume that is dying to be shown off, here is an event to rock your best Star Wars look.

An Experience Not to be Missed!

Not only is Riverside Arts Market a great place to shop with hours of live entertainment and a fun place to take the kids, it is all free!  Admission is free, parking is free and they even have free wifi!  RAM is definitely a must see.  With each week offering a difference experience, there is always something new to explore. Check for this week’s activities on the Riverside Arts Market “Upcoming Events” page!

Question of the Day: What’s YOUR favorite part of going local? Share in the comments below!