Second Saturday offers gift possibilities ahead of Mother's Day, graduation

May 10—Just in time for anyone who is behind schedule on shopping for Mother's Day or graduation season — or those who simply refuse to wait any longer for summer to arrive — the Second Saturday Community Market returns to Chestnut Street tomorrow.

"I'm excited to see everyone out and about," said Emily Cicora, coordinator of the event series that continues through September.

Twenty artists and vendors eager to solve any last-minute Mother's Day dilemmas are expected to fill Chestnut Street between Park Avenue and Mulberry Street, which will be closed to vehicular traffic. Several community organizations will also offer craft stations aimed at younger participants. Kids will also have a chance to see balloon virtuoso Magic Steve in action, creating an impressive variety of inflated artworks from 9 to 11 a.m.

Two musical performances will take place, Cicora said, with The Bright Ideas taking the stage from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and Zack Johnson from noon to 1:30 p.m. In between will be belly dancing as Shimmy Mob performs at 11:30.

While some members of the family are distracted by performances or other fun along the street, other members will have a chance to duck into vendors' tents or nearby shops for a Mother's Day gift — the sort of gift that suggests the giver was completely on top of their game, not procrastinating until the last possible minute.

Even better, money is no requirement, especially for young people hoping to deliver the sort of handmade present that never fails to tug at the maternal heartstrings. The planned craft activities include a station for making Mother's Day cards and another where youngsters can paint rocks or make a tree slice necklace.

Visitors can also duck over to the Market House, a few steps north of the Second Saturday events. While not technically part of Second Saturday, the timing of the weekly farmers market overlaps and tends to blend together with the action on Chestnut Street.

"We always get excited about Second Saturday," said Paula Burleigh, who chairs the board that oversees the Market House. "It's such a dynamic event with so many participants. It brings a lot of foot traffic downtown, which benefits everyone, the Market House included, so we always have a wonderfully busy market on Second Saturday weekends because there's just lots of folks coming in town. We enjoy being partnered with that."

Fifteen vendors will be featured in the farmers market that runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. In addition to the produce one would expect, other tasty treats available will include Donutology's ornately constructed confections and coffee mock- and cocktails from the people behind both French Creek Coffee and Tea. Co. and Cussewago Creek Distillery.

Brunch will also be available in the Market House's cafe space during the farmers market. After a brief hiatus, a new brunch menu debuted last weekend, according to Burleigh.

"They were really popular," she said of the brunch offerings launched last year.

The new menu was previewed during the Market Authority's March meeting. "It's all really good," Burleigh said.

With gift options, entertainment, activities and food and beverages accounted for, both Cicora and Burleigh acknowledged the one key factor they have little control over.

"The weather is supposed to be bad," Burleigh said, "but with (Allegheny College) graduation and everything, hopefully we'll still have a lot of people coming down."

Allegheny's commencement begins at 2 p.m. Saturday. Forecasts on Thursday predicted an increasing likelihood of rain beginning at 11 a.m. and continuing through the rest of the day.

Cicora remained optimistic.

"We're hoping for some decent weather," she said. "Even if it is raining, we'll still be there."

You can go

Second Saturday Community Market takes place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Chestnut Street between Park Avenue and Mulberry Street. Chestnut will be closed to traffic during the event, which features approximately 20 artists and vendors selling their wares as well as live music and dance performances, craft stations and more. Second Saturday coincides with the weekly farmers market at the Market House from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., which will feature 15 farms and other vendors.

Mike Crowley can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at