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Saturday Artisan Market launches season at Canalside

Bow ties for dogs, hand-sewn clutches and soy candles with scents ranging from Buffalo blizzard to clementine green tea – shoppers could find all that and plenty more under the blazing sun this weekend at the season’s first Saturday Artisan Market on the boardwalk at Canalside.

Laurie Juszkiewicz knew almost instantly Saturday afternoon that she had found just the right thing for her office: a simple bud vase composed of a stack of smooth stones.

Threaded through the holes drilled through the stones was a test tube, providing water for the flowers and a backbone for the stones. The cairn concept resonated with Juszkiewicz, a massage therapist.

“It’s balance, how everything is stacked,” she said. “You don’t want to much or too little.”

And with that, Gregg VanHorn, owner of DriftRock Bay, sent another of his creations into the world. For the past three years, he has been gathering driftwood and rocks from the shores of Lake Erie and transforming them into candleholders, lamps, vases and wine bottle holders. At first, it was a hobby for the engineer. Then, about a year ago, when a drunken driver hit his wife head-on, leaving her with two broken wrists and multiple leg injuries, he took a leave from work to care for her and their seven children. Soon, he quit his job at Nussbaumer & Clarke. His hobby became his livelihood, and beachcombing with his children, ages 3 to 12, became the pipeline for his raw materials.

“Everyone has a different idea of a beautiful rock,” he said. “I look for some character, some colors, some marbling.”

The Saturday Artisan Market will continue twice a month, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 4 and 18, July 2 and 16, Aug. 6 and 13, Sept. 3 and 17, and Oct. 8.

The bike ferry launched its season this weekend as well, celebrating its new Outer Harbor landing. A ride on the ferry costs $1 each way and takes passengers – and their bikes – from the Commercial Slip at Canalside to the Outer Harbor and back, about 600 feet one way across the Buffalo River. The ferry runs noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, through Labor Day weekend.

Also this weekend, Mayor Byron W. Brown announced the opening of nine splash pads for weekends only through the end of June. Starting June 27, the splash pads will be open seven days a week, through Labor Day.

They are: Martin Luther King Jr. Humboldt Basin; Centennnial in LaSalle Park; Houghton Park; Cazenovia Park; Lanigan Park; Schiller Park; Kensington Pool grounds; Allison Pool grounds; and Roosevelt Park. This weekend, weather permitting, the splash pads will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday and Monday.

The city’s outdoor pools will open July 1.