H.A.L.O.’s “Artisans at the Mall” Was Full of Heart

Pictured here is Dena Cassidente, a vendor at HALO's Artisans at the Mall in Vero Beach.
Pictured here is Dena Cassidente, a vendor at HALO's Artisans at the Mall in Vero Beach.

VERO BEACH – Something has been “purring” at The Indian River Mall in Vero Beach each month, and it’s time to let the “cat out of the bag”!

It’s called ARTISANS AT THE MALL. This is a family-oriented craft show/animal adoption event organized by H.A.L.O. No Kill Animal Rescue to help raise funds and bring attention to the importance of no-kill rescue and animal adoption.

H.A.L.O. has an Adoption Center located in the Mall, tucked between Victoria’s Secret and Sears.

The first event, held in December, was organized in 10 short days, with only 6 vendors participating. The vendors are local artisans offering new and unique handcrafted goods. A handful of raffle items were generously donated by Mall stores (including Sears & Dillards), along with the artisans. The event was small, but the heart and interest were evident.

Now… fast forward to this past Saturday’s event! In four short months, “Artisans at the Mall” has grown to 33 vendors (many are now repeat participants) and over 35 spectacular raffle prizes. More Mall stores are participating with donations.

This time Sears, JCPenney, Claire’s, Glow Golf, Books-A-Million, and Yankee Candle joined in, and the interest is growing.

But, there is much more to the growth of this event. It’s called “Kindness Rocks”. Perhaps you’ve seen or picked up a painted rock or two randomly placed as an act of kindness throughout the county (and beyond).

Indian River Rocks painting group.
Indian River Rocks painting group.

The “Indian River Rocks” rock painting group has consistently stepped in and donated their time, talent and numerous painted rocks, (all beautiful and one-of-a-kind), to make this
event something to look forward to each month.

The Indian River Mall was bustling on Saturday. The corridor leading into the Food Court was lined with talented vendors showcasing their work. Vendors continued to wrap around the common area near the fountain and further into two additional corridors.

People were in line early, trying to make decisions on which raffle items to choose. An animal cutout board was available for doggone cute pictures, a craft table was set up, and several artisans were giving demonstrations of their talent.

All around the event were smiling faces in a Mall that has endured some negative publicity of late. But that was all history on Saturday.

The Mall had a sense of rejuvenation, filled with laughter and kindness.

The focal point of this event is H.A.L.O. No Kill Animal Rescue, which is Indian River County’s only no-kill, non-profit animal rescue and adoption center.

It is with the support of the community that H.A.L.O. can continue with its efforts to save the lives of hundreds of animals each year.

There were sweet kittens, several cats (all with their own distinct personality), guinea pigs and two wonderful dogs (who were brought in from the main H.A.L.O. shelter in Sebastian for the event) to visit on Saturday all doing their best to win the heart of someone wanting to give them a furever home.

The event is held on the first Saturday of each month from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Be sure to mark your calendar for Saturday, April 7th. You may just find your new “best friend.”

For more information, please contact H.A.L.O. No Kill Rescue Adoption Center in the Indian River Mall at 772-778- 8798 or email VolunteerHalo@att.net.

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About Andy Hodges
Andy Hodges was born in Annapolis, Maryland and raised in Jupiter, Florida. Andy has been a radio & TV personality since the 1980s. He has worked for WLIZ, WFLX-FOX 29, WIRK, WIXI, WKSY, WRMF, and WJNO to name a few. After spending 7 years in Atlanta, Georgia during the 1990s, Andy returned to Florida and settled in the small town of Sebastian in 2000. In 2005, he returned to the broadcasting news sector and eventually joined our news team in 2016 as editor in chief. Andy's family has lived in Sebastian for more than 45 years.