Who knew 9 years ago, when we first started Phoestivus, that it would get this big? This year we had over 170 vendors and over 4,000 people on Night One and about 5,400 on Night Two. We raised over $20,000 for the farmer’s market.
We’ve grown, we’ve changed, we’ve even lost friends along the way (we miss you Monika Woolsey).
Our goal was always to support the Phoenix farmer’s market in an area of town that was a food desert to many, while supporting locally-owned businesses and the local farmers who supply it.
The stories that inspire most are those of people who use the market to launch their successful businesses. Look at Strawberry Hedgehog’s Tracy Perkins, who’s vegan-friendly soap business is now in Whole Foods.
The weekly market director, Sara Matlin, took the market to a whole new level. She makes the trains run on time. Were it not for her, we would not have grown so seamlessly.
In creating the market, I had one goal: that the market would be here for so long that nobody would know who started it. If we do it right, none of us will know if we reach that goal. But, we seem to be on the right track.
Our second goal was to focus on supporting locally-owned businesses. We believe that franchises and multi-national businesses, while sometimes great for their employees, can’t match the job creating power of locally-owned businesses. Local First Arizona will tell you that for every one dollar spent at a locally-owned business, 30% more stays in the state to create more jobs and support police, fire fighters and schools.
Last, but not least, we wanted to have fun –we mean the nerdy, goofy fun that you see in the Pheats of Strength, the Phoestivus Pole and the Airing of Grievances (Thank you Phoenix Storyteller’s Project for taking that to the next level). And who would forget Phreddy the Yeti and the ever-popular Hipster Santa.
Personally, I look forward to Phoestivus more than I do any other nights of the year. People are walking around, happy to see each other, warm in the glow of that feeling of community and connection that you only ever see in movies about the holidays. I feel like we are doing it here, while still being inclusive to all.
As we prepare for our tenth year, we want more of those ideas. We want more community participation. So, please drop a note to me through our contact page here, and let us know what you’d like to see in the future.
Again, thank you all and thanks again to all of our many sponsors! Please see below