Lafollette Park was the site of Austin’s 6th Annual Holiday Shopping Fest.

Sponsored by the Austin Chamber of Commerce and Ald. Emma Mitts (37th), Camille Lilly, president of the Chamber, and Mitts were both on hand to welcome the community.

Both Lilly and Mitts said this event is a way for the community to spend money with each other.

There were coupon offers from participating businesses in the Austin community, as well as free turkey raffles held every hour.

One returning vendor included Juliette Harris of Juliette’s Handmade Creations, who specializes in making black dolls. The African clothing and detailed features of her dolls were intricately designed.

Harris, who has made dolls for six years, said, “It started out as yarn dolls, but I wasn’t particularly fond of yarn. So I figured I should be able to do something else, and that is when I started with a canvas. You might see many duplications but they are not the same. This year, I started making Angel dolls. Many people from the religious community had expressed a desire for dolls that were, shall we say, heavenly.

“It gives me great joy to watch the expressions on people’s faces when they purchase one of my dolls,” Harris added. “I consider my creations a personal touch of love for anyone – black or white – that purchase my dolls.”

Entertainment this year was done by jazz vocalist Tammy McCann, accompanied on piano by musician Ben Paterson. McCann’s singing style rivaled Nancy Wilson, Aretha Franklin or Beyonce. Besides her vocal talents, McCann is quite knowledgeable about Chicago politics.

“I could talk about politics for hours,” she confessed. Although we have the sports teams, our real sport in Chicago is politics.”