Gift fair gives shoppers a real alternative
Q: Where can you go to make charitable donations for your loved ones for the holidays, buy from local businesses, drink Alterra coffee, eat hot, fresh crepes and enjoy some harp music?
A: The Exchange Alternative Gift Fair.
The atmosphere at Lakefront was everything you can hope for around the holidays; bustling, good-hearted and laid back — a wonderful contrast to the tension at the mall three weeks before Christmas. As well as our sponsors and participants, we would like to thank the public for coming out and supporting this fair; it is gratifying to see it grow every year in success and popularity. Outpost is committed to promoting local businesses and organizations with a community focus, and this event enables the Exchange magazine to contribute to that in a very tangible way. It’s also rewarding to get out and meet people who care about the same things we do.
The idea for the alternative gift fair came from former Exchange Assistant Editor Susan Currie, who saw an opportunity to offer people an alternative to the materialism of the mall. The gift fair helps non profits by giving them an opportunity to tell their stories and receive donations, and it offers the people of Milwaukee a way to change how they shop for the holidays; to make it more meaningful.
The addition last year of the Buy Local Fair, made up of Our Milwaukee member businesses, added a vibrant layer to the mix. Shoppers were able to meet the owners of local stores and chat with them as they bought local gifts, many of them organic and sustainable. The reward of shopping this way is obvious; the money spent stays in the local economy, supports a local business and has more meaning to the giver and recipient. Simply put — it’s more personal.
This year’s event was our most successful to date, and our participants gave us positive feedback, some of them suggesting an even larger venue for next year. So when you see posters for the 5th annual Exchange Alternative Gift Fair, know that it’s an event that introduces you to charities, businesses and like-minded Milwaukeeans. And there’s no need to stand in line at the mall.