MILWAUKEE — A marketplace with dozens of local vendors will set up shop at Summerfest this year. Eleven vendors in the Summerfest Marketplace are local minority-owned businesses given a grant to take their wares to the festival by BMO Harris Bank.
One of the recipients of the BMO Harris Bank 'EMpower' grants is Lilo Allen, the owner of Papyrus & Charms. The jewelry boutique usually operates out of the Bronzeville Collective on North Avenue in Milwaukee, but will soon get the opportunity to go before the tens of thousands of daily Summerfest visitors.
Allen says the grant will cover her setup costs and allow her to pay friends who would have otherwise gone unpaid while volunteering to help at the festival.
“What that does for me is alleviate a lot of stress," Allens says.
As for the big stakes at the Big Gig, Allen says there’s no place like it.
“I’m so excited to vend at Summerfest, it’s literally been at the top of my professional goals for a very long time” she says.
Allen looks at the marketplace as an opportunity to share her story. “To be able to bring my culture and this community's culture to Summerfest is amazing, it’s a blessing” says Allen.
The Summerfest Marketplace will be located near the Miller Lite Oasis stage throughout the Summerfest run this month.