The East Bay Underground Market was a bit of an experiment. Would it work in the East Bay? Would it work outside? What did we have to do differently? Would the fire marshall show up because it was outside? Would people show up? No way to know really.
I have to say that I had the most fun this market. It was really nice to be outside, both for the weather, and for the fact that it gave the market a much more open feel (I suppose thats a pretty obvious observation). I really like SomArts, but it can get a bit clausterphobic. We had about 2000 people through the course of the night, but it never got too full that we had to stop letting people in.
I met a mushroom forager from Shasta (Kevin), who, like most mushroom foragers, was a bit crazy in all the best ways. He came down to the city with a backpack full of morels, which I promptly bought (and which you'll taste in this upcoming Wild Kitchen dinner), with a promise that I could visit his farm sometime in the future.
I found out that one of my vendors is actually a lawyer who specializes in...I believe she said it's called high risk legal strategy, and since I happen to run my life in a particularity high risk legal way, she's definitely a good person to know. Hopefully we're going to be working together to help some of the vendors jump through some hoops towards legitimacy, a hard process indeed.
We got Beat Beat Whisper to come back, this great Oakland based sibling duo that played at the first two SF Underground Markets. I love their music, makes me happy every time I hear it (I'm actually listening to it as I write). They're going to be playing at Eat Real (another great Oakland festival you should check out), at the end of the month, they are really not to be missed.
We learned a lot at this market. About the OPD, generators (who knew renting a generator for one day could cost $3000?), porto-potty placment, spider boxes (I'll leave it up to you to imagine, although the reality is less cool than your imagination I can assure you ((hint: it has less to do with spiders, and more to do with power)). We had some great help from one ms. Consuelo Jacobs, who I met a couple months ago, and for some reason dedicates fully too much of her time to helping make the market amazing, which is very much appreciated. We had some great vendors this time. We put out the call a couple months ago for East Bay Vendors, and got a pretty good response. Out of the 130 or so that signed up online, about 35 showed up for sample day (this is about par for the course, which Im always surprised by, but its a good way to see who is serious), of which we accepted 30. Overall we had 55 vendors, so about half East Bay, not bad for a first attempt....enough business talk, onto the food!
Really great stuff, of which my words won't do justice, so I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. Thanks to everyone that came, vendor and customer alike, it was a really great night.
Photos by Jon Wollenhaupt