Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Dominique Martinez-Powell | dmartinez_powell.photography
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Busy Carbondale Spring Fest anticipated in honor of the eclipse

Yemisi+and+James+Anderson+holding+their+Flava+Pack+Spices+from+their+business+The+JAY+Effect+March+20%2C+2024+at+Redeemer+Community+Church+in+Carbondale%2C+Illinois.+Daylin+Williams+%7C+dwilliams%40dailyegyptian.com
Daylin Williams
Yemisi and James Anderson holding their Flava Pack Spices from their business The JAY Effect March 20, 2024 at Redeemer Community Church in Carbondale, Illinois. Daylin Williams | [email protected]

This year’s Carbondale Spring Fest may be the busiest yet, with traffic through southern Illinois increasing to view the total eclipse taking place on Monday, April 8 at the Washington Street Garden, 209 Washington St.

 

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) estimated 70,000 to 300,000 people will be coming into the area. Southern Illinois is the closest point to Kentucky, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida to see the eclipse.

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The fest will take place the weekend leading up to the eclipse, April 6 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and April 7 from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m., with music provided by the city of Carbondale from 3 – 10 p.m. on Sunday.

 

Local business owner Michael Smith of Fired Up Jellies and Jams started the Carbondale Spring Fest back in 2022. This year will be the store’s third time hosting, and there will be around 65 vendors attending, from food trucks, to apparel, jewelry and other artisan goods.

 

“This is a milestone for us because it’s like, look how far we’ve come since the last eclipse,” Smith said.

 

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During the 2017 eclipse, before Fired Up Jellies and Jams was a registered business, Smith remembers sampling out his product to the campers who rented out the field behind his house. Now, he holds the annual fest to not only showcase the product, but to bring awareness to local small businesses in Carbondale and surrounding towns.

 

One of the vendors that will be at the fest for the first time this year is The JAY Effect. It  is a husband and wife team made up of James and Yemisi Anderson and their line of seasonings. The Andersons have been in the catering business for some time, but around the pandemic, the vision for their seasoning business began to form in Yemisi’s mind.

 

“I was pregnant with my second son, and kind of stuck in a chair and frustrated because I couldn’t work,” she said. “So many things were going on, and I’m a praying woman, so I sat and I’m like ‘God, what do you want?’”

 

The vision began in little pieces, starting by Yemisi Anderson making the mixes to use in their catering, not knowing the idea would turn into an entire spice line.

 

“My husband’s name is James, that’s the J in the JAY Effect, and my name is Yemisi, that’s the Y, and our last name is Anderson, and that’s the A. That’s how the name came about. So the Jay Effect is what you get when the two of us come together,” she said.

 

Their seasonings are now sold at The Neighborhood Co-op in Carbondale, Smalls Meat Market in Marion, Higginson Farm in Carmine and Riverside Mercantile in Elizabethtown, as well as online at thatsthejayeffect.com.

 

The Andersons said their garlic and herb and original blend sell fast online. The Jay Effect will be at the fest on Saturday and Sunday.

 

Melanie Aldridge, owner of Meadows Bluff Farm, will be a returning vendor, making this year her third at the fest. 

 

Aldridge has been in business for 6 years and started off making soap using goat’s milk after it proved successful in relieving her daughter’s eczema symptoms. Now she sells a variety of products.

 

“This weekend we will start selling our deodorant cream and magnesium body balm. The balm helps with joint aches and pains. The deodorant cream is infused with oils and all the good stuff that’s supposed to help promote breast health, soften lumps, things like that,” she said.

 

All of the products are tried and true, Aldridge said.

 

“It’s all tested. It all goes through a testing phase before the final product hits the market. Me, my family, and friends have all tried the products on our website.”

 

Aldridge’s dog has also tried some products.

 

“Yogi was an outside dog, a farm dog. And in the summertime, the gnats and all of that would just fly around him and irritate him. So I came up with a product to help with it. It made the flies and the gnats and all of that disappear,” she said.

 

Meadows Bluff Farm will be at the fest both days, and products can also be found at Higginson Farm Mercantile in Carmi, Cricket & Red Brick Antique Mall in Carterville, or by visiting the website, meadowsblufffarm.com.

 

Another returning vendor is Vicki Harger, owner of Big Muddy Peddler. This will be her second year at Carbondale Spring Fest.

 

Harger has been making pan poured, sootless, scented candles made from coconut wax since 2020.

 

“Honestly, I didn’t like candles,” Harger said, pointing out that the black soot other candles create mixes with the air that we breathe, and stains the curtains, carpets, and other things in our homes. 

 

“I thought to myself, if I’m going to sell a candle, I need to sell a quality one. So I sat down and studied, researched, tested, and carried on until I fixed what I thought was wrong with them.”

 

Harger said she eventually crafted a clean candle for an environmentally conscious person. They produce very little smoke, and are very aromatic, the coconut oil blending seamlessly with the fragrance oils.

 

“They’re biodegradable, compostable, and vegan,” she added.

 

In honor of the eclipse coming up, Harger created a candle to embody the rareness of the experience.

 

“I created a candle called Daylight Moon, and it’s also on my website. I picked the scent deliberately because it has a warm and cool factor to it, like you’re sitting on a quiet beach, no one else is around and you’ve got the warmth on your face and you’ve got like a cool cave at your back and you’re sitting right where the two meet so you’re smelling the salty air, you’re smelling cool blue lotus flowers, hibiscus, and some muskier scents. And it should mingle together like that,” she said.

 

Harger’s products will be at the fest, but you can find them on her website, bigmuddypeddler.com, as well as quite a few shops listed under the locations tab.

 

All of the vendors are excited to see the crowd this special year brings for the Carbondale Spring Fest.

 

 

 

 

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