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Ensley Renaissance Festival: Business owners say rebirth is more than hype

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Local artist displays paintings at Ensley Renaissance Festival. (Keisa Sharpe/Alabama NewsCenter)

By Keisa Sharpe

Alabama NewsCenter

Local artist displays paintings at Ensley Renaissance Festival. (Keisa Sharpe/Alabama NewsCenter)
Local artist displays paintings at Ensley Renaissance Festival. (Keisa Sharpe/Alabama NewsCenter)

A renaissance is underway in Ensley.

On Saturday, Aug. 20, through periods of rain and sunshine, steady crowds came out to purchase unique artwork, sample food vendors’ offerings and greet business owners in their community.

The Ensley Renaissance Festival was anchored at the former West Precinct police building, with several streets blocked off to accommodate vendors and visitors. The vendor fair was from noon until 3 p.m. and a concert began right afterward.

The daylong event featured local, small business owners showcasing handmade crafts, candles, clothes, jewelry and paintings, as well as natural hair and body products.

The Summer Jam Series featured Motown artist and Birmingham native Sebastian Kole.

“I thought it was a wonderful networking event and we need more of these to show Ensley is alive,” said Kooda Prince, a festival vendor who owns Kooda’s presents Flyy Space.

The event was part celebration and part creative exchange, an effort to fan the flames of Ensley’s former energy and revitalize a once-thriving community nestled just outside the Magic City.

Festival Creative Director Arden Blackwell was one of many who helped bring a spark to Ensley this weekend.