June 23, 2013

Trinity Park event promotes community

By AMY HEGGEN Press-Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH — The Really Really Free Market drew a crowd to Trinity Park with community-donated items, entertainment and activities showcasing what Plattsburgh has to offer.

“Giving, taking, family fun. It was a great success,” said Matt Hall, organizer of the recent event.

Some of the free services offered included yoga classes by Kimberly LeClaire, demonstrations by local herbalist Jenn Allen, Hula-Hooping lessons by Chelsea Varin and massage therapy by Christina Nori.

Up for grabs at the Free Store were a large selection of clothes, pots and pans, plates, mugs, books, holiday decorations and other items.

Hall said the market is about “realizing what we have here in Plattsburgh and taking advantage of it.”

Entertainment included an open-mike session, a drag show from Haus of Starr and a 16-millimeter film presented after sundown by Andy McDougall.

“The main idea (of the event) is to take things in our community and share them,” Hall said. 

The market, in its second year at Trinity Park, encourages recycling and reducing waste, he said.


Megan Risley, 24, of Plattsburgh has participated in the Really Really Free Market for four years. This year, she assisted with the Free Store.

“I helped organize and set up the clothing,” she said.

She thinks the event is a good way for people to showcase their talents.

“It’s a really great opportunity for people to come and share what they can offer to the community,” Risley said.

Sarah Bell of Plattsburgh saw fliers for the market around town and came to check out the event.

“It’s something different to do,” she said.

Bell said she came to check out the Free Store, open mike and the drag show, as well as for the social aspect of the event. She left with some new recipes and a book.


The founder and organizer of the North Country Herbalists, Jenn Allen, was impressed with the turnout at the market.

“Today, I came here to share remedies that I have available as a practicing herbalist,” Allen said.

North Country Herbalists is a group that aims to give information about how herbs and plants can enhance people’s lives through health and nutrition, she said.

“We had some taste-testing of herbal honeys, herbal soup and herbal ice tea,” she said. “It was a way of letting people try our stuff.”

The iced tea was made with motherwort, stinging nettle, hibiscus and lime.

Allen handed out recipes for the samples that she offered.

She said the market allowed her to introduce the public to the group’s mission, as many people are wary of or unfamiliar with the practice of herbalists.

Allen held a free drawing for a package of various types of dried teas, including mint and lavender, along with medicinal honey.

She also did demonstrations throughout the day on topics such as native herbs and how to make tinctures.

“Most people liked the samples,” Allen said. “I’m very glad that I came out to share this with everyone. And I got to give away lots of herbs.”