Shopping in Bloom

Valeri Alexander, Quinley Etheredge and Lauren Powers. (Photo by Tim Valentino)

Valeri Alexander, Quinley Etheredge and Lauren Powers. (Photo by Tim Valentino)

With less than 90 days until Louisville’s famed horse racing double-header, the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby, and less than two months until the month-long party leading up to the runs for the lilies and roses, Louisvillians are ready to shake off winter’s chill for thoughts of springtime, on-track betting and mint juleps for days.

Signaling the start of the festivities to come, the Junior League of Louisville will hold the third edition of its annual Tulips & Juleps gift market March 10 through 12 at Louisville Slugger Field. Over 65 booths “boasting art, home decor, food products, jewelry, clothing and accessories for the entire family” await shoppers and their wallets.

Though the nonprofit’s market was tied to all things Christmas in recent memory, the market was moved and rebranded in 2016 to catch the spirits of spring and Derby. Junior League Chair of Marketing and PR Ashlyn Ackerman explains:

“The Junior League has always had a gift market. Previously, [it had] been called Holly Days, [and] it was around the holidays. We decided two years ago to shake it up a little bit and do a spring market to tie into the Derby theme and everything that’s going on in Louisville in the spring.”

This year’s edition of Tulips & Juleps features a few regional and national vendors plus several local businesses including: Art From Ashes, Clayton & Crume, Kelly Waterman Designs, Scarlet and Olivia Boutique and Stella & Dot.

The market begins Friday with the Call to Post Preview Party, an after-work happy hour shopping extravaganza from 4 to 8 p.m. Early risers on Saturday can take in a barre3 class at 9:30 a.m. prior to the day’s shopping, followed by Juleps After Dark in the evening. The after-hours ladies’ night party, lasting from 5 to 9 p.m., will have live music, an array of drinks – including bourbon and wine pulls – and a silent auction. The final day on Sunday is free admission with a book donation or a suggested donation of $5 and features story time at the Usborne Books and More booth.

What should guests expect out of this year’s Tulips & Juleps? “We’ve got everything from clothing to jewelry to artwork, pottery  … there’s a good variety … and it’s all [from] high-end vendors,” says Ackerman. “There’s definitely something for everyone.”

Ackerman adds there will be Junior League members on the shop floor to help guests around the gift market, whose proceeds will go back into the nonprofit to fund its community events and its education-based philanthropic mission in Louisville. JLL’s current initiative is a partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and WAVE TV, distributing one free book per month to children in certain areas of the city to encourage literacy.

Tulips & Juleps 2017 runs from March 10 to12 at Louisville Slugger Field, 401 E. Main St. General admission tickets for Friday (4 to 8 p.m.) and Saturday (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) are $5, followed by donation-based admission (book donation to Little Libraries or suggested donation of $5) on Sunday (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.). Weekend passes are $25. Juleps After Dark (5 to 9 p.m.) admission is $20. Tickets are available at the door or online at juniorleaguelouisville.org. VT

By Cameron Aubernon

What: Tulips & Juleps

When: March 10-12

Where: Louisville Slugger Field

Cost: $5