Putting the ART in Artegon

Last year, I got to experience a more intimate shopping experience with a preview shopping event at The Daily City’s Pop-Up Shop in South of Downtown. As luck would have it, this time around is another new marketplace jam packed with local artisans creating truly beautiful things! Let’s go on a whirlwind scavenger hunt through I-Drive’s Artegon Marketplace, and then cool off our kicks at the latest celebrity-owned watering hole in Orlando!

Fueling up for The Hunt!

 Going Local!

Get ready to channel that inner Hermione Granger pronunciation with me. “It’s ‘ART-eh-gone,’ NOT argh-TEA-gone!” So, in the weeks leading up to the event, I consistently and unabashedly pronounced the name wrong. Being this adventure would be my introduction to the marketplace, I prepared myself by doing a little research and learned our evening would focus on The Village at Artegon which features over 160 artists and specialty craft shops! Looking at the pictures of the shop fronts, it took me back to my childhood when we’d peruse the Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop. Unlike any flea market I’ve ever been to, The Village is packed with truly humble and talented artists, like a fancy farmer’s market with high end art.

As the group arrived, we were offered beverages and a lovely buffet of snacks. Knowing the after party awaited, I did not set up camp at the buffet bar and destroy it like Godzilla tromping through Tokyo. Our fab CM and Local Goddess in the Pantheon of Orlando, Andi, welcomed us and introduced the our host of the evening. We received lovely Yelp* branded shopping bags and cool bingo cards which lead to the announcement that we’d be embarking upon a stamp rally scavenger hunt. The directive was simple: visit the artisans, learn about their art, and obtain a nifty stamp. The cards would be later collected and used as raffle entries for a massive Artegon gift bag.

On The Hunt…

Armed with our bingo cards and sixty minutes to roam the marketplace, we simply picked a direction and headed out. That was the extent of our game plan We were mercifully informed that we could take our time and see as many artisans as we liked as there simply was not enough time to visit every single vendor listed on the card, genuinely listen to them speak about their craft, and actively engage them in conversation. Passing under the Sky Trail, we headed out and started our artsy adventure!

Check out my complete review of the CMYE: Yelp Goes Local at Artegon!
I apologize in advance as it’s quite epic.

Enjoying a Princess Tea Party of Yelper*s Delight!

Our stops included Marketplace Framing, Beef Jerky Outlet, Tea Craze, Robots are Awesome, Florida Soap Company, Charmed Stones, Stars Bar & Baskets, GenkiGoth Studios, A Little Valentine, KRaP Art, ZooTamers, Looker Art, SOS Art Gallery, and Vagabond Traveler. After the event, Andrea and I headed back to buy some Turkey Jerky for the road!

My Runners’ Footies are gonna love some ‘Jungle Lovin’!

Best Freebies of the Night: Ms. Misty at Florida Soap Company allowed curious guests to take home with a full-sized sample product! As a mediocre gym rat and runner, I opted for the Jungle Love Dead Sea Salt  Bar (a $5 value) for my tired ole feet! Plus, Ms. Karon, the Tea Craze Tea Sommelier gave out tea bags with Yelper*s Delight which is perfect for winding down a night of writing fab reviews!

The After Party

We’re Gonna LOVE this bar!

After I chickened out on the Sky Trail, Andrea and I made our way next door to Toby Keith’s I LOVE This Bar & Grill. We made new friends as we shared a barrel high top and staked out the buffet table and bar. As we were part of the stragglers, the line for the food was long, so we decided to drop by the bar and see what awaited us!

Massive Mason Jars of Orlando Floats!

Drink Spotlight: The Orlando Float features Smirnoff Vanilla Vodka, Smirnoff Iced Cake Vodka, & Ginger Ale (topped with whipped cream and a cherry, naturally).

According to our at-home “Thought Adjustment Hour” inventory, the closest Smirnoff I have is the Fluffed Marshmallow, so a trip to my local spirits distributor might be in order. I might spice it up a little with Stolichnaya Vanilla (or maybe Vanilla Rum?), Pinnacle Cake Vodka, nix the whipped cream, Canada Dry Ginger Ale (or some fancy craft ginger ale/beer) and a two cherry minimum.

Andrea & Amber Love this Bar, too!

The gang at TK’s served up some mighty fine pulled pork sandwiches, chicken tenders, fried pickles, chips and dip and my personal fave: pretzel nibbles. The only thing missing was some cheese sauce for dipping the pretzels!

Parting Shot: The Pepper Palace

Why should you bring me along on your foodie adventures? Bottom line, if I’m not allergic and it won’t kill me, I’ll try just about anything. After being treated to some mouthwateringly divine niblets of Sweet BBQ, I saw the sign (no, not in the Ace of Base, 90’s hit song), and before I could stop the words from tumbling out of my mouth, I was inquiring about sampling the hottest sauce in the store and gaining admission into their revered HALL of FLAME!!

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Common sense would dictate that if the sauce is aptly named FLASHBANG as in a style of hand grenade, it might behoove someone with better judgement to walk away. Additionally, when the vial of aforementioned hot sauce is a pulled from a vessel which resembles a flashbang grenade, one should brace themselves, like in the Ned Stark “Winter is Coming” sense of cataclysmic proportions. The sample was nothing more than a dab on the tip of a tooth pick, but I’d be lying if it didn’t burn like I licked the sun itself. I didn’t even try to act tough, and as my distinct lack of poker face shows, I had Gandalf fighting the Balrog ON MY TONGUE!!

I’ll chalk it up as a win, but it won’t become a regular thing. I like my tongue. I like to eat. I cannot eat while it is on FIRE!

In Summary

The gent from The Bokeh Studios also took some killer event photographs. Look hard enough and you might spot me being shamelessly side tracked! I had a blast and I am hashing out a game plan for my next visit to Artegon. Supporting local artists is totally cool! I am thrilled that I had the opportunity to experience a new-to-me venue in Orlando, and I would like to thank Yelp*Orlando for introducing us!

Event Date: March 19, 2015

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