Gray Thursday, Black Friday... Camping out in a parking lot for countless hours to score deals on wireless speakers can thrill many Americans — but not the cool ones. Like you.
If you skip the megamall in favor of local vendors, you'll support your neighbors and snag the snazziest and most unusual finds. Here are a few of our favorite hunting grounds:
This Saturday (November 30), hit up Night Owl Market Presents: Snow Owl in FATVillage (17 NW Fifth St., Fort Lauderdale). Peruse goods from more than 70 local artisans, small businesses, and crafters — all on "small business Saturday." The event lasts from 5 to 11 p.m. Admission is free — and so is the booze. Yep, there will be free drinks to go around and food trucks on-site to keep you fueled for shopping. There are too many cool wares to name, but for interesting home or office décor gifts, check out Ransom Designs for its "upcycled" light fixtures made from reclaimed industrial signs (ransomdesigns.com). Also, visit the Housebroken Clothing booth to find fun and original T-shirt designs — like a dog playing a banjo or a pig riding a skateboard — for men and women (housebrokenclothing.com).
For lowbrow and moderately priced art, look no further than Bear and Bird Boutique + Gallery (4566 N. University Drive, Lauderhill). Housed on the second floor in Tate's Comics (which might also have some gifts for you), this eclectic gallery space hosts the annual "Small Stuff 7" show, fitting for artsy shoppers with small budgets. Find holiday-themed works and small original pieces from more than 20 local artists, with a price range of $10 to $200. Visit bearandbird.com.
Got deeper pockets and really want to treat someone? If so, visit artist Francesco Lo Castro's online store. Prints of his paintings or photos start at $25, but if you've got a little more cash to spare, check out his scarves, custom-printed in San Francisco on silk with swirls of vivid pastel colors. These beauties are inspired by the artist's "Geometry" series — colorful abstract works that look more stunning on fabric than on canvas. The scarves go for $125 to $225 at francescolocastro.com.
Not everyone has tastes for trinkets, fashion, and things to hang on the wall. For the musically inclined, pop by Radio-Active Records (845 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale) on Black Friday for a blowout sale. The vinyl hub will have a huge selection of records, both LPs and 45s, on clearance. Prices per items are $1 to $25. The shop also has interesting merch like record bags, turntables, and beer glasses. Visit recordstoreday.com for the deets.
Coming up next month are two additional indie craft fairs — brought to you by the same people who host the Night Owl Market. Start with the Retro Rodeo: A Vintage and Collectibles Extravaganza on December 14 and 15, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Held at the Bergeron Rodeo Grounds (SW 65th Ave., Davie) this hoedown features one-of-a-kind pieces and retro finds, collectibles, and antiques peddled by about 100 vendors. Check out Fab Finds and Designs at the rodeo for holiday ornaments and retro goods made from candy-color-like vintage objects. A deer wreath goes for $45, and an adorable deer snow dome sells for $25.
Getting closer to Christmas Day is the December 21 Sewman. Hosted at Revolution Live and America's Backyard (100 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale), this shebang is a good spot to hit up for last-minute shopping. Sixty-five crafters and artists will showcase splendid wares. Be sure to pop by Sweet Caroline Confections for handcrafted lollipop goodness — a nice treat for any sweet tooth. Visit getupandcraft.com.
If only these guys sold toilet paper and shampoo, we might just put Target out of business. Happy holidays!