Here we are at Thanksgiving, also known as Black Friday Eve, when even the joyful prospect of turkey dinner, family reunions and a nationally televised Dallas Cowboys loss cannot distract us from our shopping strategizing, half plan, half panic.
We worry, of course, because in the search for that unique holiday gift, money cannot buy thoughtfulness and originality.
Luckily, there is no shortage of local creatives who are making just what you’re looking for and putting those items on display at a growing number of holiday-themed markets and events across South Florida this weekend and beyond.
This third annual South Florida Locals-Only Gift Guide offers a list of ideas and experiences — and where you can shop for more. Your gift-giving reputation will never be the same.
For instance, you’re not going to find a gift that is more distinctive and whimsically Florida than the “groovy, happy clothes” made from vintage towels by Pompano Beach resident Jessica Carter and sold via her Retro Mermaid Shop.
The idea combines her love of “bright, fun vintage prints” and a desire to make unique clothing for her three daughters. She’s proud of the old-school vibe.
“I got my love of sewing from my great-grandma, including my love of bright, flowery prints. She sewed my mom and aunts’ clothing into beautiful quilts. Always been repurposing clothes around here!” Carter says.
Carter finds many of the towels herself, but also has online sources who sell her vintage towels in bulk. Her pieces range in sizes from infant to adult (you’ll see shirts and dresses for women), with prices from $30 to $80.
“I like clothes to be fun and have character,” Carter says. “My girls love the beach. They are fun to throw on with a swimsuit or can also just be worn for fun anywhere.”
You can find Carter’s work online at RetroMermaidShop.square.site, but she also sells them at Deerfield Beach shop Mora Sustainable, at 1562 SE Third Court.
On Sunday, Carter will have a display at Good Vibes Market in Lighthouse Point in the Venetian Isle Shopping Center at 3700 N. Federal Highway. The market runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit GoodVibesSoFlo.com.
Also taking part in Good Vibes Market is Annie Hunt, of Lake Worth Beach, who can be found at local markets from Jupiter to Miami with her distinctive denim work and other finds. But those pieces may not be what people remember first about her.
Her mobile showroom, a former school bus painted bright turquoise with a pair of steer horns on the front, is a conversation piece, too.
Inside and outside the Sweet Annie Living Bus, you’ll find boots, hats, home decor items and plenty of upcycled denim embroidered with distinctive patterns.
“I do a lot of custom work with the jeans. Gals give me their faves with a color scheme, and I go to town,” says Hunt, a recent transplant from Naples, describing her look as “boho chic with a cowgirl flair.”
Beyond Good Vibes Market, you can also find Hunt’s work at Perfectly Imperfect Consignment in Boca Raton (PerfectlyImperfectConsignment.com) and Junk ‘n Jypsys Co. in West Palm Beach (Instagram.com/junknjypsys). Also check Instagram.com/sweetannielivin for new pieces and updates on where the bus will be next.
Beginning this weekend, you’ll find markets and events showcasing a wide variety of art, clothing, lifestyle items and other distinctive gift possibilities made by locals for locals, or anyone anywhere who wants a piece of the South Florida vibe. Here are some ideas on gifts and places to shop in South Florida.
Naked Warrior Project: The Naked Warrior Project was created by former Navy SEAL John Owens, of Pompano Beach, in memory of his brother Ryan, a fellow Navy SEAL who was killed in a 2017 mission in Yemen, and to support fallen Special Operations veterans and their Gold Star families. At NakedWarriorProject.org, you’ll find a selection of shirts, hats and other items that raise money for the cause. One T-shirt includes an iconic quote from U.S. Army Gen. George S. Patton: “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived.” The shirt costs $30, $35 in long sleeve.
Tortuga Music Festival: Local country music fans know that last year, tickets were gone by mid-January, as in gone gone. The 2023 Tortuga Music Festival lineup is led by Kenny Chesney, Eric Church and Shania Twain, with performances at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park on April 14-16. Tickets are on sale now, with prices set at $275 for a three-day general-admission pass, $1,399 for the three-day VIP pass and $2,199 for Super VIP. Visit TortugaMusicFestival.com.
Local spirits: In the West Palm Beach Warehouse District, Steel Tie Spirits Co. produces three award-winning versions of Black Coral Rum (spiced, black and white rum) using local ingredients and stills built by father-son partners Clint and Ben Etheridge. That’s a straight shot of authenticity. Visit SteelTieSpirits.com. A similar ambition can be found at Shady Distillery at Sistrunk Marketplace in downtown Fort Lauderdale, where small-batch rums (made with Florida molasses) and vodkas adhere to the specifications of surfer, musician and master distiller Jonny VerPlanck. Visit ShadyDistillery.com.
Record Store Day: The Black Friday edition of Record Store Day brings fresh vinyl and accompanying festivities to shops across the country, including Rust & Wax in West Palm Beach, Radio-Active Records in Fort Lauderdale, We Got the Beats in Oakland Park and Lauderhill, and Sweat Records in Miami. Among the new RSD offerings is a re-release of “Jaco Pastorius: Truth, Liberty & Soul” (Resonance), featuring the mercurial jazz genius, who grew up in Oakland Park, captured live in 1982 at New York’s Lincoln Center with his muscular Word of Mouth Big Band. On its 2017 debut, a Pitchfork reviewer called the album a “midsummer night’s dream of a performance.” The three-album set features remastered audio along with rare photos, essays and interviews. For a complete list of RSD releases and participating shops, visit RecordStoreDay.com.
Seaglass: One of the defining annual events on the South Florida food and wine calendar, Seaglass: The Fort Lauderdale Rosé Experience returns to the beach from Jan. 20 to 22, celebrating the blush wine with an elevated-but-casual (mostly barefoot) picnic on the sand to raise money for AutoNation’s DRV PNK cancer research and treatment initiative. The tented affair will feature more than 30 varietals of top rosé wines, along with spirits, craft beer, an array of food and live music. Tickets start at $125. Visit SeaglassExperience.com.
Museum Store Sunday: This weekend brings Museum Store Sunday, when most large South Florida institutions (and some smaller ones) will be set up to help you find something unique. See MuseumStoreSunday.org. At the Boca Raton Museum of Art, the shop features pieces made by local artists, including vessels and vases of hand-painted gourds made by Nadine Meyers Saitlin and silk scarves and wraps by Kathleen Lang. Sunday hours at the Boca Raton Museum are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visit BocaMuseum.org.
Blue Stallion Farm: South Florida resident Gany Bernal has turned her life at Blue Stallion Farm in Southwest Ranches into a brand of all-natural bath and body goods, a home fragrance line and, now, a cookbook offering her recipes (she’s a culinary school graduate) and her grandmother’s, with riffs on her boho-chic Florida farm lifestyle. Visit BlueStallionFarm.com.
South Beach Wine and Food Festival: All the good parties scheduled during the festival’s return from Feb. 23 to 26 are sure to sell out. Among the buzzier new events planned is Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives After Dark, hosted by Hunter Fieri (vice mayor of Flavortown), set for 10 p.m. to midnight Feb. 24 at the National Hotel. Who knows who might show up? Tickets cost $95 (all food, drink included). Also new is The Cookout, hosted by James Beard Award-winning chef, author and TV personality J.J. Johnson and former Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade at 1 Beach Club at 1 Hotel South Beach from 4 to 7 p.m. Feb. 25. Tickets cost $125. Visit SoBeWFF.org.
Beer gear: I like brewery gear as a way to support and to promote the community when, say, I’m on a beach or a slope far from home. The brewery near your house likely has swag ready to be gift-wrapped. I like the clean typography and graphics at Gulf Stream Brewing Co. in Fort Lauderdale as much as I like their Graphic IPA. Which is saying something. Most of their gear is in the $25 to $30 range. Visit GulfStreamBeer.com.
Mile 0 Fest: If someone on your list is into Americana and a red-dirt brand of country music, consider tickets for Mile 0 Fest in Key West from Jan. 24 to 28. Cozier than Tortuga at 4,000-capacity Truman Waterfront Park Amphitheater, Mile O has a lineup that includes American Aquarium, Shane Smith & The Saints, Pat Green, the Randy Rogers Band, Ian Munsick and Morgan Wade, plus acts everyone needs to know more about, like the Red Clay Strays and Kaitlin Butts. A five-day pass starts at $499+, but individual tickets are on sale for $139+ (Jan. 24 is $69+). Visit Mile0Fest.com.
Here are some places where local makers and creative provocateurs will be gathering in the next few weeks to show off their work for your shopping pleasure.
The Peach, West Palm Beach: The art collective will kick off its Pop-Up Holiday Bazaar series this weekend, hosting a variety of local artists and vendors from 5:30 to 9 p.m. each Wednesday andFriday-Saturday through Dec. 23. In Unit 3, artist Craig McInnis will offer original drawings, T-shirts and other small-scale work for $50 and under. Visit ThePeachWPB.com.
Northwood Village, West Palm Beach: The monthly Northwood Village Art, Dine and Design series will include Black Friday shopping among local businesses and vendors on Northwood Road from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday. The event includes live music, live art, food and drink, and a holiday window contest. Visit Facebook.com/NorthwoodVillageArtDineAndDesign.
Sunny Side Village Store, Fort Lauderdale: A new brick-and-mortar in North Beach Village (709 Breakers Ave.) that was unveiled recently by the ladies of the popular Sunny Side Up Market, the Sunny Side Village Store will do Black Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., featuring live music, local shopping and happy hour drinks from 4 to 7 p.m. Visit SunnySideUpMarket.com.
The Wander Shop, Oakland Park: The Wander Shop boutique and next-door furniture shop Rehaus will throw a Small Business Saturday block party on their hip stretch of Northeast 12th Avenue in Oakland Park, between Rebel Wine Bar and The Butcher’s Barrel. Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit Instagram.com/tothewandershop.
BRK Republic, West Palm Beach: The Small Business Saturday Holiday Market takes over BRK Republic Dog Park & Bar on Clematis Street from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, with local vendors, festive cocktails, holiday treats, entertainment and a Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League adoption booth. Admission is free. Visit Facebook.com/BRKRepublic.
Good Vibes Market, Lighthouse Point: Local creatives and farmers will display their wares at this family-friendly gathering in the Venetian Isle Shopping Center at 3700 N. Federal Highway, Lighthouse Point. The market runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit GoodVibesSoFlo.com.
Zuke’s Refillery, Delray Beach: Consistent with its theme to save the planet against all odds, Zuke’s Refillery in Delray Beach (in the Andre Design District, west of Interstate 95) will be home to the Sustainable Holiday Marketplace from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. The market will feature handmade crafts and jewelry, vintage items, baked goods, a vegan food truck, live music and a food drive with local nonprofit Eat Better Live Better. Visit Facebook.com/zukesrefillery.
The Weekender – South Florida Events
Get a roundup of the best events and things to do in South Florida so you can make it an epic weekend.
Holiday Boozy Brunch Market, Fort Lauderdale: Sunny Side Village Store’s cozy and cool North Beach Village will host the Holiday Boozy Brunch Market block party on Breakers Avenue from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3. The event will include more than two dozen vendors, yoga and mimosas, food and drink and live music. Visit Instagram.com/sunnysidevillagestore.
Indie Craft Bazaar, Fort Lauderdale: Governed by the discerning eye of Amanda Weiner, a longtime curator of South Florida creatives, the massive Indie Craft Bazaar will set up in its traditional home inside and outside the Revolution Live complex in downtown Fort Lauderdale from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3. You’ll find more than 80 vendors, food and drink, and DIY activities at the all-ages gathering. Admission is free. Visit Facebook.com/indiecraftbazaar.
Pine and Palm Holiday Market, Coral Springs: The Coral Springs Museum of Art hosts its second annual two-day shopping event on Friday-Saturday, Dec. 9-10, with original art pieces and items from local artists and makers. Visit CoralSpringsMuseum.org/events.
Sunny Side Up Market anniversary, Fort Lauderdale: The growing venture celebrates its third anniversary in downtown Fort Lauderdale’s MASS District from noon to 4 p.m Sunday, Dec. 11. The afternoon will include yoga and mimosas, craft cocktails and food, and an array of holiday shopping from more than 60 local vendors. Admission is free. Visit Facebook.com/sunnysideupmarketBGN.
Holly Jolly Hollywood Festival, Hollywood: The second annual downtown Hollywood event takes place from 4 to 10 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11, and will feature Indie Craft Bazaar’s gift village on Hollywood Boulevard between 19th and 20th avenues. The all-ages event includes kids’ activities, live entertainment and participation from nearby bars and restaurants. Admission is free. Visit Facebook.com/indiecraftbazaar.
Flamingo Flea, Boca Raton: Fort Lauderdale’s popular Flamingo Flea will bring more than two dozen vendors, live music and a friendly vibe to craft-beer eatery Crazy Uncle Mike’s in Boca Raton from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17. The all ages event will spread inside and out. Admission is free. Visit FlamingoFlea.com.