published Saturday, March 24th, 2012

River Market returns to downtown

This weekend, check out some crafts. Maybe get a new piece of jewelry. Sniff a few handmade candles. Stop and color.

Chattanooga River Market opens Saturday for its second full year, and spokesperson Melissa Siragusa said things are "really growing."

More than 45 vendors are scheduled for opening day in the Tennessee Aquarium plaza, double what they had last year, she said.

Visitors to the River Market can take a break to do some coloring with Becky Hecker and her mother, Ann, owners of the Rainbow Dragon. Both Hecker ladies are pattern designers and colorists in the textile industry. Ann hand-draws black and white patterns that can be colored in according to the desires of the colorist.

The Rainbow Dragon patterns, Hecker said, were originally intended to be utilized as resources for stained glass or quilt patterns for adults.

"But we noticed that kids loved it too, so we turned it into a coloring book for all ages," she said.

As a benefit, she added, they began to see that the coloring had a very therapeutic element for children and adults. "Most of all, it just makes you happy."

While the traditional Sunday Chattanooga Market, which opens April 22, is more of a farmers market, the Saturday River Market is mostly arts and crafts and artisan goods. There will be no produce, but perhaps "a splash here and there," she said, of preserves and home-canned foods.

The market will also feature an outdoor yoga class, which will take place at 10 a.m. and is BYOM -- bring your own mat. Live music is also in the lineup of events. The opening day performer is Julie Gribble, an Atlanta native whose music has been featured in television and film.

The River Market brings in more tourists because of its location in the bustling riverfront area, Siragusa said.

"It's a different crowd," she said. "People from Knoxville and Nashville who are on their family vacations come by there because of the Aquarium."


* What: Chattanooga River Market.

* When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. today.

* Where: Tennessee Aquarium plaza, 1 Broad St.

* Admission: Free.

* Phone: 648-2496.

* Website:

about Holly Leber ...

Holly Leber is a reporter and columnist for the Life section. She has worked at the Times Free Press since March 2008. Holly covers “everything but the kitchen sink" when it comes to features: the arts, young adults, classical music, art, fitness, home, gardening and food. She writes the popular and sometimes-controversial column Love and Other Indoor Sports. Holly calls both New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY home. She earned a bachelor of arts ...

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