Michigan makers are at the forefront of this Bay City festival

There’s a lot going on in downtown Bay City this weekend.

And, at least for one of downtown’s main events, that is entirely by design.

As the Hell’s Half Mile Film & Music Festival takes over Bay City for another year, a complementary event takes root on Washington Avenue as it enters its third.

MI Made Marketplace 2019 is scheduled for Sat., Sep. 28 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Approximately 20 to 25 vendors will line the blocks of Washington Avenue featuring Michigan-made items. Several food trucks will be on hand as well.

Vendors offer a range of Michigan-made products, from jewelry to Bloody Mary mix, clothing to home décor.

MI Made Marketplace is also meant to shine a light on Washington Avenue itself.

"There are a lot of festivals downtown but always on Water Street or Center Avenue," says Tara Welch, one of the organizers of the event.

"We wanted to do something different and highlight the businesses on Washington. It’s one of the first things you see coming downtown off of Liberty Bridge."

Tara Welch is the executive director of arts non-profit Studio 23. She organized the event along with three other Bay City stakeholders after all attended a downtown meeting, taking the idea and running with it. They are Jessica McQuarter, co-owner of record store Electric Kitsch; Tosha LaForest, owner of Tosha Cole Photography; and Laura Horwath, owner of Ferne Boutique.

The group purposely chose the weekend of Hell’s Half Mile, encouraging attendees of that festival to stop by and visit MI Made Marketplace, and vice versa.

"All of the vendors use Michigan-made products. This is a way to show off the state with the trends of farmers markets and local vendors," Welch says.

"We wanted to align with Hell’s Half Mile. It’s sort of a partnership. We talk to each other and always keep each other in each other’s promotional materials."

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

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