Since it opened in 2001, the St. Bernard Seafood and Farmers Market in historic Old Arabi has been the setting for local farmers and fishers selling their products and local artisans showcasing their handmade arts and crafts. Visitors also can often find delicious baked goods, jams, pickled goods and fresh herbs.

The market, which opened for the season June 14, will be open on the second Saturday of each month through October. Located at the Aycock Barn, 409 Aycock St., the market is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

On July 12, James Cruse, a local barbecue professional, will hold a cooking demonstration from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Cruse and his team will demonstrate how to prepare barbecued ribs, brisket and chicken.

Additional dates of operation are Aug. 9, Sept. 13 and Oct. 11. For information, call the St. Bernard Parish Office of Tourism at (504) 278-4242.

Summer reading program

St. Bernard Parish Library summer readers are invited to soak up all sorts of fun this week.

Local author J. Steven Spires will visit the Chalmette Branch at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, June 26, to share his first published story, “The Three Shrimp,” a tale of childhood wonder amidst lurking danger. The story follows three little shrimp as they pursue their curiosity and swim from one adventure to another without realizing the dangers around them.

Spires is a 26-year elementary teacher from Slidell. His first publication has garnered the Mom’s Choice Award and will be available for purchase following his presentation.

As part of the library’s Fridays with the Arts series, Johnette Downing, an award-winning local musician, recording artist and author, will celebrate “Fizz, Boom, Read!” with her original music program, “Rocket into Reading” at 3 p.m. Friday, June 27.

Downing, who has received 13 national awards for six recordings, will have CDs and books available for purchase following her free, hourlong concert.

For information, stop by the library’s Chalmette Branch, 2600 Palmisano Blvd., or call (504) 279-0448.

Chamber Business Expo

The St. Bernard Chamber of Commerce’s fifth annual Business Expo is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 28, in the Frederick J. Sigur Civic Center grand ballroom, 8245 W. Judge Perez Drive in Chalmette.

The 2014 Business Expo provides local companies a chance to grow their business by showcasing their goods and services to potential customers and networking with other business owners to build valuable relationships.

This year’s event will feature nearly 70 local businesses from St. Bernard Parish and the surrounding area. There will be door prizes and giveaways, donated by the participating vendors and event sponsors. Visitors will have an opportunity to sample local fare from restaurants and or purchase full meals.

Admission is free and open to the public. For information, contact Stephen Reuther, St. Bernard Chamber chief executive officer, at (504) 277-4001 or

Bereavement sky lanterns

The Compassionate Friends of St. Bernard, a self-help organization for bereaved families who have lost a child of any age, invites bereaved families to remember their loved ones Friday, June 27, during a special event.

Set for 6 p.m. near the Compassionate Friends Memorial Garden in front of the St. Bernard Parish government complex, the event will include a wishing-light sky lantern release.

Liz Lemoine, chapter leader, said the purpose of the event is to give families an outlet “to celebrate their family members who have gone too soon.”

“Each family will be provided with a wishing light (sky lantern) to be released at dusk,” Lemoine said.

Refreshments will be served between 6 p.m. and dusk. Participants are asked to bring their own chairs and bug spray.

Compassionate Friends meet on the second Wednesday of every other month. For information, call Liz Lemoine, chapter leader, at (504) 421-3986; Kathy Nunez at (504) 913-5255; Suzanne Lyell at (504) 650-9650; or Michelle Boyd (504) 413-9897.

AARP to meet

AARP Pakenham Chapter 3926 will meet Saturday, June 28, at 10 a.m. at the Council on Aging, 8201-A W. Judge Perez Drive in Chalmette.

For information, call George Virga, president, at (504) 278-1367.

District A Town Hall meetings

St. Bernard Parish District A Councilman Ray Lauga will host a series of meetings for District A residents.

The meetings, which will begin at 7 p.m., will be in the St. Bernard Parish government complex’s council chambers, 8201 W. Judge Perez Drive in Chalmette, on July 16, Sept. 17 and Nov. 19.

For information, call (504) 278-4217.

St. Bernard EDF grant

The U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration, recently awarded a $40,000 matching grant through the New Orleans Regional Planning Commission to support economic development initiatives in St. Bernard Parish.

The principal partners in this grant, the St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation and the Nunez Community College Foundation Board, will each contribute $20,000 in matching funds, bringing the total project funding to $80,000.

The grant is being awarded to implement SBEDF’s “Fisheries Moving Forward Project,” which will identify re-employment opportunities for fishers whose work and employment were displaced by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. This initiative identified three key fields: coastal restoration, ecotourism and sustainable fisheries.

Others who will serve in an advisory capacity and support this initiative include the St. Bernard Parish Department of Tourism, the Louisiana Workforce Commission’s Workforce Investment Board Region 1, TruFund Financial Services Inc., Louisiana Small Business Development Center and Louisiana Sea Grant/LSU AgCenter. These stakeholders will comprise the project’s coordinating committee for August 2014 through December 2015.

For information, call (504) 277-4009.

Mark your calendars

The St. Bernard Salutes America Committee will host its 30th annual celebration from 4:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Friday, July 4, on the Frederick J. Sigur Civic Center grounds, 8245 W. Judge Perez Drive in Chalmette. There will be live music, food and fireworks. Admission is free.

Kim Gritter writes about people, places and events in St. Bernard Parish. She can be reached at