The Saturday Shoppes, a free community event featuring more than 80 vendors, food trucks, music and entertainment, is returning to Tropicana Field this weekend with the Beer, BBQ, and Bacon Festival in Lot 4.
The event, which runs from noon until 5 p.m. is part of a partnership with the Tampa Bay Rays and founder Renee Edwards to provide economic development opportunities to the community, particularly within minority and women-owned business communities.
Saturday Shoppes allows vendors to participate in a four-week training focused on improving owners’ marketing and social media strategies, improving customer service, licensing and other business best practices. The events also provide low-cost booth options for businesses to showcase their products and services.
Saturday Shoppes events have grown significantly, with events now in cities nationwide. In addition to St. Petersburg, the events are located in Tampa, Miami, Atlanta and, new this year, Washington, D.C. Edwards also recently launched an afternoon/evening market, “Shopping with a Vibe,” in Clearwater.
Edwards and her work have been featured in The New York Times and local media.
Edwards has also incorporated community giving into her business model, with a November event scheduled tentatively at Lake Vista Recreation Center to provide hot meals to families in need.
The next event at Tropicana Field will be Nov. 4, with the Saturday Shoppe’s Soul Fest featuring breweries, cigar lounges, pet events, food trucks and more.