Call it a holiday miracle of sorts. An east-side corridor that has seen at least 5 people shot in the last few weeks was transformed into a place of peace and joy Saturday.
A section of North New Braunfels Avenue was opened only to foot traffic for the first-ever Eastside Holiday Bazaar.
The event featured food trucks, local artisans and a free food giveaway by the San Antonio Food Bank as well as entertainment.
"We are alive on New Braunfels and not just alive and well but improving!” Neka Cleaver exclaimed.
Glass artist Ruth Bushman of Caliente Hot Glass was one of the exhibitors.
"There's plenty of love here and there's plenty of really amazing people and it's great to see us all out and doing this and supporting each other," Bushman said.
Bushman added that she and other small business owners came to sell their wares, but they also came to invest in their own neighborhood.
"So being a small business here, when you purchase from us or any of the artisans here, you're building a relationship,” she said. “You're buying something that was made from the heart."
Cleaver said that this event is just one sign, of many, that things are improving in the area.
“Right now it is extremely important because community has to be rebuilt. And the only way we can do that is by coming together, meeting each other, seeing each other literally in the streets, giving hugs, having conversations and finding out the things that we have in common again, the things that we love again, because that is what is going to start rebuilding our trust in each other,” Cleaver said. "There's been so much change in this area in the last year, that I don't think many people realize how much change has been going on.”
Organizers said that this is a grass-roots effort that runs deep and will grow tall.
"This is a beautiful area of town. It just needs a little elbow grease," Bushman said.
Cleaver said that the future looks bright for those who are willing to work for it.
“What we're asking for you to do now, is come and join it,” Cleaver said.
Saturday’s event was co-sponsored by San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside, along with the San Antonio Food Bank, Teach For America and Councilman Alan E. Warrick, II.
Even though this was a one-day event, there is still an opportunity to see a free glass blowing demonstration Sunday. The exhibit will take place at Caliente Hot Glass Studio at 1411 North Hackberry near I-35.