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Tucson Meet Yourself festival gives small businesses economic boost

Posted at 10:26 PM, Oct 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-09 01:26:03-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The festival might be called Tucson Meet Yourself, but the folk festival gave people plenty of opportunity to meet new friends and make connections.

Of course there’s also the sizzling good food and the entertaining cultural music you can dance to.

Greg Pleasant has been going to the festival for about 22 years and said he enjoys the mix of cultures that come together at the festival.

“Every year I came here just because I love the diversity in Tucson,” Pleasant said.

The festival also gives Tucsonans an opportunity to buy from local businesses that don’t have brick-and-mortar buildings.

Sharlotte Nsabaka, a local seamstress, said the festival is an opportunity to meet new customers in person.

“It helps me to know a lot of people and the people, they ask about my business, if I have a website,” Nsabaka said.

Edward Beltran owns a quilt business with his partner Grace and he said the festival gives them an opportunity to grow their sales.

“My partner Grace makes all these quilts and this is probably the biggest place where she makes her business here,” Beltran said.

However, for Charlotte Ham, selling her mom’s unique hats at the festival has a lot more of a personal case than just making money.

Ham said her mother, who owns Toni’s Designs, has been selling at the festival for about 10 years. Her 80-year-old mother was diagnosed with dementia and wasn’t able to sell at the festival this year.

Ham said she is donating some of the proceeds she makes from the hats to a Alzheiemer’s and dementia foundation.

When talking about her mom's legacy, she said meeting her mother’s clients was an important part of selling at the festival.

“We may not sell all the hats for Mom, but at least we get to show off her creativity and be able to honor her that way.”

Some people like Alondra Martinez, who attended the festival, said it’s important to support small businesses.

“It makes our city better, and as a growing city with so much potential, we need to give back to these passionate individuals that were born and raised here,” Martinez said.