Metro-East Living

Visit downtown Belleville businesses during Art on the Square

Barbecue-theme accessories from Hobby Lobby in Fairview Heights.
Barbecue-theme accessories from Hobby Lobby in Fairview Heights.

A lot of money will be spent in downtown Belleville this weekend with Art on the Square beginning Friday and running through Sunday with more than 100 juried artists offering their work for sale.

The big bucks may go home with the visiting artists, but while you’re there you can also support the businesses that line Main Street all year long. Many retailers will have sales and extended hours to draw you in, so drop in and look around.

Here’s a look at what some of the shops in downtown Belleville have to offer, this weekend and year-round:

You may not know this about Ben’s, but the retailer at 112 E. Main St., wraps gifts for free. Need to send a gift? There is a mini post office in the store so you don’t even have to leave the place to get a lot done!

I’m thinking sunny warm weather ahead (not too hard to prognosticate around here), and with Memorial Day fast approaching, I really like the Beach Stake Cup Holders (pretty self-explanatory and three for $12) at Ben’s. I’m sure you can stick one into the grass as easily as into sand to hold a frosty beverage, so they’re good for land as well as beach parties.

No extended hours this weekend, but you can shop until 6 p.m. Friday, 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 on Sunday.

At Circa Boutique at 128 E. Main St., check out the cute T-shirt onesies ($20) for the kiddos, but also the elegant hand-cut hammered sterling-silver cuff bracelets with stamped dainty hearts ($68). They’re made by shop owner Andria Powell under her Mellow Mountain jewelry brand. Other hammered bracelets by Andria are $45. The store will be open until 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Happy Hop Homebrew at 122 E. Main St., is so much more than a place to get beer- and winemaking supplies. Owner Chris Powell (Andria’s husband) said “fun foodie stuff” is filling the shelves, including lots of new barbecue sauces, flavored honey (try the jalapeno) and a variety of salsas. Extended hours this weekend are until 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Peace by Piece at 132 W. Main St., will be open until 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Check out the colorful clothing collections that are almost works of art, like the Jude Connally spring shifts and the Nally & Millie tunics.

Neighboring Pairabelles at 200 W. Main St., does art all year long, offering classes in painting and stenciling techniques as well as turning what’s old, broke, loose or heirloom from your jewelry box into a statement piece. The shop is so pretty and filled with cool stuff. Call 618-977-5779 or email for more info.

Turned Treasures Gallery at 225 E. Main St., has a poster in its window that mentions that it supports more than 25 local artists year-round, selling beautiful turned wood bowls, platters, vases, plates and furniture. Many pieces easily compete with what I’ve seen at the art show. Stop in and shop these skilled artists. While you’re there, you can sign up for classes.

Fairview Heights store closing

Another retailer is leaving the Crossroads Centre on Lincoln Trail in Fairview Heights. Tuesday Morning has begun discounting its already discounted goods (10 percent for right now) in anticipation of closing that location only, probably in July. The shopping center saw its anchor, Hobby Lobby, move to another retail spot recently, which may have impacted traffic to Tuesday Morning. It was already surrounded by empty storefronts.

Tuesday Morning is still full of merchandise, so there are plenty of bargains. I really like the Todd English Super Titan titanium-infused/ceramic/nonstick baking pans with removable silicone handle grips. That means no oven mitts needed. Prices start at $7.99 before the discount and I saw a variety of sizes.

Chilly ride

Home Goods in Fairview Heights has a bright red wagon cooler (60-quart) that will make you the envy of your partying friends. Cost is $149.99. It has dual flip lids, bottle opener and catcher, four sturdy wheels and easy steering.

Dress up for barbecue

You’ve got the sauce, the grill and the spatula for Memorial Day weekend. Now, you need a few accessories from Hobby Lobby in Fairview Heights, such as pink pig salt and pepper shakers (wearing checkered bandanas, $9.99). A “World Famous BBQ” barnwood sign does double duty as a bottler opener with a wire mesh catcher below it ($27.99). Even better than the wide selection of barbecue decorations is the sale going on: 40 percent off these and many other items.