The Petworth Community Market fundraiser was this evening at Chez Billy, and I think it was a total success! There had to be more than 200 people who came out to support the Market, and there were dozens of items up for auction to help the Market serve the community.
"The money raised tonight supports the fees we have to pay to the city for permits, meters, insurance and more," said Erin Lane, the president of the Market's Board. "Plus, it helps us to serve neighbors in need by affording us the ability to double SNAP/WIC payments."
"The event raises enough funds to cover 30%-40% of our annual operating costs," continued Erin. “It’s great to see this place packed with so many people, and to have them all out to support the Market and the community,” she said.
Chez Billy is usually closed on Mondays, and opened up especially for the fundraiser tonight, something Erin publicly thanked the restaurant for during a speech to the crowd. Erin also thanked ANC 4C for their support and grant money, and all the vendors who supplied the various items for auction, including Lighthouse Yoga, The Coupe, DC Reynolds, Looking Glass Lounge, Upshur Street Books, Fia’s Fabulous Finds, DC Brau, The Swift apartments, Seeking Sitters, Annie’s Hardware, and many others.
When I asked Erin why she thought so many people attended, she said, “I think people are hungry to connect with each other at community events and take part in neighborly camaraderie. They want a tight-knit community where they can socialize locally. And I think that the Market helps serve that by giving people a local place to be social with each other.”
“We sold 180 pre-sales tickets, and think we have more than 220 tickets sold overall,” said Jenn Rogers, the Development Chair on the Market’s board. Looking around the bar at the crowd of locals, she added, “It’s exciting to see the community committed and investing in the area by being here tonight.”
Both Erin and Jenn are right, at least from the impromptu survey I took while at the fundraiser. Events like this, with neighbors mingling with neighbors, makes for a crowded and fun opportunity to meet new people and feel supportive. I asked several people why they attended, and the main reason they gave was to support the Market, and the neighborhood.
“Petworth is a great neighborhood” and “I like that we have this Market in our neighborhood” were answers I heard over and over from people.
Maria, from the 16th Street Heights area, came out on a pair of crutches with her friend Natalie to attend the fundraiser. “We heard about this from Facebook and I love the neighborhood Market. The local food is great; I want to support them and see more vendors come out to the Market.”
Locals Emily and Andrew, who live near 13th and Randolph, had similar reasons. “We think this is great. We came to the event to support local,” said Emily. “And we’d like to see the Market expand even more.”
The Petworth Community Market is a 501(c3) non-profit, and accepts donations to help them meet community needs. The board that runs the Market is a purely volunteer effort. “There are 12 board members — and we’re always looking for more!” said Jenn Rogers. “We all care about the community, and this is our way of helping it feel like a neighborhood.”
If you couldn’t make the event tonight, consider donating to the Market on their website — just look for the big orange donate button.
And be sure to come out and support the local vendors who are offering farm fresh vegetables, breads, meats, vegan food and much, much more.
The Market opens on Saturday, May 2 and runs through November from 9am to 1pm on 9th Street (Upshur & Georgia Ave). It’s definitely a highlight of our Petworth neighborhood.