18th Street businesses to host food, craft vendors

Cassie Buchman, City Editor

The street will be filled with people exploring businesses and checking out a variety of craft and food vendors at the 18th street block party 10 a.m. Saturday.

The fair is between Madison Avenue and continues south of Lincoln Avenue.

Steve Runyon, the owner of Home Again Consignment Shop, is one of the people who helped organize the party.

Block party organizers and business owners have been working on setting up the whole party for two months.

“We’ve been working closely with all the other businesses,” Runyon said. “There’s a whole group of businesses who organize it.”

Runyon said it started five years ago and has grown every year since then.

He said the party has always had a good turnout, but the first one was smaller.

Along with the craft and food vendors, other activities will be available as well such as a car show and free carriage ride.

“We pay in a pot to take care of ads and the free carriage rides,” Runyon said.

Local people who participate in car shows own the cars.

“The car owners rebuild their cars for showing at these car shows,” Runyon said.

One of the activities, called “Touch a Truck” in which children will be able touch a truck and have their picture taken with it as well, will raise money for the local Headstart program.

The Headstart program is for young children and prepares them for eventually enrolling in school.

Runyon’s business, the Home Again Consignment Shop, is one of 21 businesses participating in and organizing the block party.

Others include Twice is Nice, which sells used clothing and furniture, 18th Street Garden Stop, which wells flowers and plants and Bike and Hike, which provides bike services.

Some businesses that are new to the party are Eclipse Hair Salon, Eastern Illinois Auto Supply, Birch’s Heating and A/C, Dave’s Decorating Center, and People’s Bank and Trust.

These establishments are not necessarily new to the 18th Street area, but they are new to getting involved with the block party.

Each business volunteers to be in the block party and are also invited by other businesses if they have not participated before.

Runyon said each business is responsible for any food or craft vendors they will be hosting at their establishment.

About 12 food vendors will be at the party, who will have French friends, corn dogs, rib eye sandwiches and pizza among other things.

“The craft vendors will have anything from jewelry to repurposed furniture,” Runyon said. “There will also be local representatives from direct sales companies.”

He said live music will be provided by Ron and Jan Easter, who play all kinds of music.

“At Home Again Consignment, we will have food vendors, vendors for fresh produce, three craft vendors, and live music,” Runyon said.

18th Street Garden shop will also have live music as well as Twice is Nice who will have DJ and karaoke.

Runyon said the block party of people from Charleston into the local businesses as well as surrounding areas such as Mattoon, Ashmore, Oakland, Tuscola and Sullivan.

“It absolutely brings us new customers,” Runyon said. “Lots of people discover 18th Street businesses for the first time. The turnout has been wonderful every year.”

He said 18th Street businesses are happy to be able to participate in the block party.

“We appreciate the support of the community for an event like this,” Runyon said.

Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].