The Eastside’s Hays Street Bridge will come alive Saturday, July 16 when Good People SA and City Councilman Alan Warrick (D2) host a free, family-friendly community mixer – Soul Saturday – from 5- 11 p.m.
The event is expected to unite more than 4,000 entrepreneurs, professionals, locals and transports for an evening of live music, kid’s activities, beer, wine, food trucks and door prizes. Unlike past Good People SA events, vendors will be allowed to set up in the vendor marketplace and at the small business expo to promote their companies.
“With all the economic development and gentrification conversations going on, we are hoping to soften the eyes of Eastsiders and the rest of San Antonio, kind of create opportunity for everyone to come together and shake hands and see that we are all neighbors, we are all good people,” said Christian Reed-Ogba, co-owner of BethanyEast PR & Mgmt. Consulting and the organizer of Good People SA events. “No matter if you want to move from the East to Boerne or move from Boerne to the East, we are all neighbors in this large little town called San Antonio. Our emphasis is to bridge previous relationships between the communities.”
Previous Good People SA events did not allow vendor sales or speakers to pitch their businesses since those events focused more on creating relationships between attendees, Reed-Ogba said. But Soul Saturday marks the “critical mass point” where attendees and vendors will finally be allowed to “sell, sell sell,” for the first time.
The small business expo will feature about 50 small businesses ranging from retail, homeware, real estate developers, and service-oriented companies.
“We are going to set the bridge up to look like a marketplace that will rival Los Angeles or Chicago,” Reed-Ogba said. “It’s going to look like a real outdoor market place.”
To reserve a vendor space, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grammy-award winning soul artist Bilal will provide the soundtrack for the evening, giving Soul Saturday its name. While the adults will use the event to network, the kids are invited to participate in face painting, a live drumming class, chalk art and photo booths.
Soul Saturday is the brainchild of Warrick. Although there are no events planned for the future yet, Soul Saturday is intended to be a reoccurring monthly event on the Eastside. Warrick will speak at the event along with Jody Newman, Chief Friend from The Friendly Spot, and a few others who will be announced soon.
Good People SA held their first event in 2012 as part of DreamWeek San Antonio. Reed-Ogba and her husband, Uchennaya Ogba, with whom she co-owns BethanyEast PR, started the event series to bring transplants and San Antonio natives together and to introduce networking opportunities.
Past events have brought 600-1,500 attendees, most of them Millennials or older, retired folks looking to jump into the entrepreneurial community. Reed-Ogba said at their last event they had at least one attendee from every zipcode in the city. She expects a similar diverse crowd at the first Soul Saturday.
“It’s not a hoity-toity event,” Reed-Ogba said. “It’s kind of like what you’ll see in Southtown on First Fridays or at the Pearl on Saturday mornings.”
Top image: A large group of guests arrived for the press event on the Hays Bridge. Photo by Scott Ball.