My kind of craft show at my kind of cafe (Feb. 2)

January 31, 2008

As soon as you read the keywords on this post — the Indie Valentine craft show, sponsored by STL Craft Mafia, with the slogan “Death to Hallmark” — you are going to be either for it or against it. And that’s cool with me. The only thing I find scary about it is the fact that I recognize many of the 40 vendors (including Beqi clothing, Senora Muertos and Squasht by Les), either because I’ve purchased things from their homepages or I’ve seen their very memorable products at other craft shows. I often schlep the kids along, but this time the show runs from 7 to 11 p.m., making bedtime a perfect excuse to leave them home.

If you avoid craft shows because you’re uncomfortable browsing products with their creators hovering a few feet away, you’ll like this one’s department-store setup. All the clothes are together, all the jewelry, all the photos, all the Dia de los Muertos trinkets … And if that’s not enough to melt your inhibitions, maybe the drinks and music will.

The event’s location is CooperElla, a children’s cafe in Maplewood at Sutton and Hazel. You have perhaps fought the lunch or playgroup crowds there and vowed never to return. But go around 4 p.m. and you’ll have the place to yourself. Your kids won’t know which of the dozens of toys to play with first. Around the holidays the cafe was closing at 5 p.m. on weekdays, but as of Monday, Jan. 28, it had expanded its hours to: Mon. to Fri. — 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sat. — 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sun. — 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Even if you’re a regular, like we are, you may not know that CooperElla has had a liquor license almost since it opened … because it still doesn’t offer alcohol on the menu. (The only reason I know is that I did a fact-check for an article about it back then, and the ownership promised that wine would be coming soon.) Now that the cafe has expanded into the former shop location and the shop has moved next door, I thought for sure wine would be on the menu for the late-afternoon and evening patrons. “Maybe next month” was the answer to my inquiry. Mmmhmm.

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