A culinary venue featuring independent vendors in a relaxed dining space will open its doors in the Central Business District at 7 a.m. Thursday, May 31, at the historic Pythian Temple building, 234 Loyola Ave.

The market's 14 vendors are located on the ground floor of the historic temple, commissioned by the Colored Knights of Pythias in 1908.

“The Pythian building played an integral role in New Orleans’ early civil rights movement and was a place where the African-American community congregated and celebrated,” said Lisa Brefere, curator of Pythian Market. “We want to re-create that sense of a convivial gathering place — a centralized hub where food, culture, spirit and community converge.”

Pythian aims to offer food that represents the Crescent City’s varied culinary landscape. Vendors include established local brands and up-and-coming concepts.

Diverse offerings include crawfish poutine from a Southern-meets-Louisiana comfort food spot called Fete au Fete; oxtails stewed in a rich brown gravy with carrots and potatoes from 14 Parishes Jamaican Restaurant; and Vietnamese banh mi and phoritos from Eat Well.

Traditional offerings will include gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches from Frencheeze, wood-fired pizzas from Meribo Pizza and authentic Southern barbecue from Central City BBQ.

Bar 1908 will offer craft cocktails, local beers and seasonal frozen libations developed by Lisa Nguyen, formerly of Cure and Seaworthy. 

Pythian Market hours will be 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

A collaborative renovation by co-developers ERG Enterprises, Crescent City Community Land Trust and Green Coast Enterprises, the repurposed Pythian is a mixed-use development featuring 69 apartments, offices, event space and the ground-floor market.  

Book fair

Look for vintage and new books, prints and posters, chess sets and ornaments at the 2018 Symphony Book Fair, taking place Friday, June 1, to Sunday, June 3, at the UNO Lakefront Arena, 6801 Franklin Ave.

Enter under ramp 1, facing Franklin Avenue. Admission is $15 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, then free through Sunday. Hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

 For information visit www.lpovolunteers.org.

Rubber Duck Derby

It's time for the annual Rubber Duck Derby at 4 p.m. Saturday, June 2, at New Orleans City Park. The park’s Big Lake near the New Orleans Museum of Art will become a sea of yellow as people gather to enjoy the race.

Adopt a duck and join the fun while helping Second Harvest Food Bank provide meals for people in need throughout south Louisiana.

Ducks can be adopted for $5, and a contribution of $100 will get you 25 ducks. The ducks will be numbered, and prizes will be awarded to the winning ducks' owners, including a grand prize of $5,000. Deadline for entering the race is 4 p.m. Friday, June 1. For information, visit www.duckrace.com/nola/rules.

June Under the Moon

A limited number of tickets are available for the annual June Under the Moon party from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday, June 8, at City Park’s Carousel Gardens.

Enjoy food, drinks and unlimited amusement park rides. Tickets are $30, and the party is adults only. For information visit www.neworleanscitypark.com.

Lynne Jensen writes about New Orleans community events and people. Contact her at jensencolumn@gmail.com.