Bracelet designs

Nulu Fest 2022 will feature over 100 vendors, food and fun this weekend

After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NuLu Fest brings entertainment and culture back to the Eastern Market District this weekend.

The family-friendly festival celebrating the revitalization of the Market District, kicks off Saturday at 800 E. Market St. from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Admission to the event is free.

Activities for people of all ages, including belly dancing, live painting and pottery making, will be part of the festivities, and offerings from a dozen local breweries and at least 30 food vendors will be on deck to enjoy.

Live music will also fill the streets during the 2022 festival, including performances by The School of Rock, Johnny Berry & The Outliers and many more.

Organizers say more than 100 vendors will be at this year’s event, selling everything from souvenirs to artwork.

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“I’m going to bring African Caribbean culture, color and flavor to it, with the products I make,” said Grace Jackson, owner of nubian grace, an online business specializing in printed scarves and ethnic jewelry. “I’m just going to add to all the beautiful colorful things that are happening in Louisville.”

NuLu Fest vendor Grace Jackson displays her inventory at Nubian Grace in Louisville.

A festival veteran, Jackson has performed at World Fest and the Kentucky State Fair. She’s a big believer in using fabric, and for the past eight years has enjoyed making things like charms and bracelets from scratch.

“I just like to use the vibrancy of the fabric, its intricate patterns,” Jackson said. “I love the texture.”

NuLu Fest vendor Grace Jackson displays her inventory at Nubian Grace in Louisville.

Widely known for its art galleries, antique shops, upscale restaurants and specialty stores like red tree furniture, NuLu has become a top tourist attraction. NuLu Fest is considered one of Louisville’s largest community events, promoting diversity and inclusion.

“I think it’s going to be bigger and better and we have some vendors who have peaked,” said Garwood Linton, owner of Red Tree Furniture and president of NuLu Business Association events. “There’s really no place for vendors anymore, it’s grown so much. Everyone in the neighborhood is getting involved in one way or another.”

NuLu Fest selling Red Tree Furniture in Louisville

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Linton said plenty of merchandise from her store, which specializes in furniture and gifts that “appeal to the five senses,” will be available, but all sellers have plenty of unique deals to chase ahead of the holiday shopping season.

“Everyone is stocked up like it’s Christmas,” Linton said. “We have a lot of business through the NuLu Festival. There are streams of people passing by and Red Tree has something for everyone.”

Linton said that while the festival is primarily aimed at people in the metropolitan area, organizers hope to attract the attention of people visiting area distilleries.

It’s a neighborhood community event, but of course tourists are “always welcome,” he said.

NuLu Fest performer Erica LaViolette performs live in Louisville.

Performers echo the same excitement.

Erica LaViolette, who hosts interactive belly dancing shows, said she was thrilled to perform at the festival.

“I love local festivals around town. I can’t wait to be there,” she said. “I’m excited to see people and see what (other) art will be made available, as well as seeing other artists and supporting local businesses.”

NuLu Fest performer Erica LaViolette performs live in Louisville.

LaViolette said her performances this year will also be something kids can take part in and encouraged people to join in, adding that the mood is all about having fun.

Linton said the vibe at NuLu Fest was “different”, describing it as “exciting”.

“I think NuLu’s energy is very dynamic,” he said. “It’s a fast moving day… It’s just amazing.”

HOW TO GET THERE

WHAT: NuLu Fest 2022

WHERE: 800, market street E.

WHEN: Saturday, September 24, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Pets will not be permitted on the premises unless it is a service animal. For more information, visit https://www.gotolouisville.com/events-calendar/nulu-festival1/