Mad for Mod Shop: Indie craft fair returns to Modesto

People fill J Street during the Mod Shop Indie Crafters Market on Saturday in Modesto.
People fill J Street during the Mod Shop Indie Crafters Market on Saturday in Modesto.

Crowds bundled up and hit downtown Modesto’s J Street on Saturday evening to bask in the holiday shopping glow of the Mod Shop Indie Crafters Market.

J Street was bustling with cars, pedestrians and plenty of good cheer during the third annual event – held in conjunction with the Small Business Saturday movement that encourages people to shop at independent retailers the Saturday after Thanksgiving. In addition to the array of local artisans peddling their handmade items, several downtown businesses and restaurants also opened their doors for the event.

Some shops were standing-room-only as people waited their turn to peruse tables filled with handmade soaps, jewelry, clothing, scarves, home decor, leather goods, candles, artwork and more – in all, about 75 vendors were on hand. Still, the heavy crowds didn’t dampen spirits, with several people seen running into friends and acquaintances, greeting them with smiles and handshakes.

Vendors were set up on the Galletto Ristorante patio – where several heaters were placed to help keep customers comfortable – as well as inside several businesses on J Street, including Peer Recovery Art Project and its adjacent Mod Spot, Concetta, Mira Bridal, Deva Cafe and Preservation Coffee & Tea.

Joel and Dianna Youngheim were enjoying a glass of wine as they watched shoppers browsing and chatting with vendors on the Galletto patio. It was their first time at a Mod Shop event.

“We have a friend who’s (an organizer of Mod Shop) and every year we’re busy or on vacation,” Joel Youngheim said of previous events. Both agreed they were happy to be there to support indie retailers. “Anything we can do to promote downtown.”

Organized this year by Kate Trompetter, Ruhi Sheikh and Tricia Rosenow, the indie crafters market sprouted from the now-defunct but similarly popular Hand Born Modern Craft Bazaar.

At the Mistlin Gallery, creative teenagers were invited back for a second year of the Mini Mod Shop, giving younger crafters a chance to also sell their wares. Even the Chamber of Commerce was open, with a raffle inside to benefit Camp Jack Hazard; Trompetter said Mod Shop supports a local nonprofit each year.

A few local musicians did their part to add to the ambiance, performing on a couple of street corners and inside the Mistlin Gallery.

Pat Clark: 209-578-2312