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Farmer’s Market adds Festivus fete
By Sheila Stroup
The Times-Picayune
Thursday, December 4, 2003

If you’re looking for gifts that are as special as New Orleans, I bring you news of great joy.

On Saturday mornings, you can attend Festivus: A Holiday Market For The Rest Of Us, Richard McCarthy’s latest wacky idea for the Crescent City Farmers Market at 700 Magazine St.

Make your way to Girod Street, which will be blocked off for the occasion, and have a stress-free shopping experience.

“I think the entire two blocks we take up will be packed with musicians and vendors,” Richard said. “It will be like strollingin a town square.”

Vendors will sell unique hand-crafted items, including things made with recycled materials.

Other cottage industries

Richard, director of the 8-year-old Crescent City Farmers Market, has been wanting to add a nonfood component for a long time.

“We’ve been trying to figure out how to have a venue for people who don’t do food and agriculture but have plenty of other homegrown talents,” he said.

December seemed the perfect time to bring other Crescent City cottage industries to the market.

“We asked ourselves, ‘What are people looking for? What are we looking for?’” Richard said. And Festivus was born.

At Festivus, you’ll find boxes sculpted from riverbed clay, wallets created from duct tape, rebuilt bicycles, one-of-a-kind cigar-box purses. You’ll find handmade journals, Christmas ornaments, doll clothes, toys and jewelry, and you’ll meet the people who created them.

“I’m excited about it,” Richard said. “I plan to do a lot of shopping myself.”

A pole for grievances

Festivus will include activities for children, hot breakfasts at Surrey’s Juice Bar and Café, even $1-per-minute massages in what Richard calls “the Office of Homeland Serenity.”

Best of all, shoppers will get a chance to air their grievances beneath the Festivus pole.

The pole, inspirted by Richard’s love of goofiness, pays tribute to the founder of Festivus, Frank Costanza on the TV show “Seinfeld.”

Frank, worn down by the years of competitive holiday shopping for his son George, decided to create his own holiday, a time for family members to come together at the dinner table to air their grievances for the year.

The market doesn’t have a table big enough to seat everyone who has grievances from 2003, but it will have the silver Festivus pole.

“We’ll have long strips of paper and Sharpies for people to write down their grievances, and we’ll string ‘em up,” Richard said. “I don’t know about you, but I’m eager to air mine.”