Unlike the sometimes divisive latte, this pumpkin spice is fun for all.
Residents and local vendors gathered late Saturday morning at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center in their best Halloween costumes to partake in the first-ever Pumpkin Spice Market, a fall-themed festival hosted by the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council which celebrated local artists, businesses and organizations here in the capital city.
The smell of tacos radiated into the main vendor area where residents had the chance to snag local goods ranging from handmade guitars to Indigenous art to fluffy cotton candy.
Rachelle Bonnet, program coordinator for JAHC, said she was “super excited” about the number of people from the community who came to the event to support local artists and businesses. She said though it’s the event’s first year, she hopes to continue to host this event for years to come.
Bonnet said the idea to host a fall and holiday-themed local event has always been something JAHC has had an interest in, and said it was great to see it finally come to fruition.
“It’s already brought lots of people from the community and lots of local vendors — so many people are wearing costumes,” she said.
She said there were around 34 vendors at the event, and anyone in the Juneau area was invited via social media and other platforms to join in on the fun. The event also accepted donations to go toward the Southeast Alaska Food Bank.
JAHC also hosted its own booth which sold homemade pumpkin spice treats and proceeds went toward the Any Given Child program, a program that works to provide access to arts and cultural experiences for K-12 students in Juneau.
Natalie Mackinnon, a business owner and sixth-grade student at Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School, featured her handmade earrings at the event along with sharing her booth with her aunt who sold handmade hats and her older brother who sold tarot cards.
At just 11 years old Mackinnon started her own business, Goosebear Designs, last year and said she has been creating sets of earrings with her friends ever since. The name of her company comes from a nickname that her dad often calls her. She said she was happy to share her work at the event.
Another vendor at the event was retired Juneau school teacher George Gress whose booth featured his handmade and self-designed electric guitars.
Gress said after retiring in 2014 after 30 years of teaching, his wife gave him a small woodworking kit to try to introduce a small hobby for him, but it instead led him to create what is now his custom guitar business with products that have been sold worldwide.
Gress said he makes a new guitar around every 11 days, and each one is made from Southeast Alaska wood, hand created by him and dyed or coated with only natural material.
Most of what Gress creates are electric guitars, but he said he is interested in branching out to create different instruments in the future.
Though always a passionate teacher of English and history across multiple schools and grades in Juneau, Gress said he always had a love for playing guitar, and now that he’s retired he is excited to grow that love by creating some and sharing them with others in Juneau and across the world.
• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (651)-528-1807. Follow her on Twitter at @clariselarson.