Y’allternative Events Brings Inclusion and Diversity to Bowling Green.

by | May 2024

INCLUSION AND diversity play a pivotal role in hosting an event. By embracing these principles, an event can create an environment of acceptance, foster innovation, and expand opportunities. When diverse voices are heard, events provide valuable insights, perspectives, and experiences. 

No one knows this better than the dynamic trio that makes up Y’allternative Events. Since 2023, Lauren Bratcher, Mandi Hill, and Jessicka Kinser have been on a mission to “create enchanting spaces where diversity and inclusion thrive.” 

“We are committed to curating unique, alternative, and mystical gatherings that celebrate the richness of human experience,” explained Bratcher. “Through a careful selection of vendors and a dedication to unity, we aim to provide a platform for underrepresented voices, minority-owned, women-owned, LGBTQ-owned, and independent businesses, ensuring they shine in the spotlight. We believe in the power of the extraordinary, and our events are a testament to the magic that happens when all are welcome. We prioritize these minority voices when it comes to choosing vendors. We also accept donations of items such as winter coats to pay for admission to our show. Through the Yuletide show, we were able to donate over 200 gently used coats to the Salvation Army to distribute among our houseless citizens.” 

The Bowling Green-based business began with Bratcher and Hill meeting and becoming friends. The two quickly realized that they shared many of the same interests, values, and passions. 

“Mandi became involved in my nonprofit, Kentucky NORML, and assisted with planning the Inaugural Kentucky Cannabis Conference in Frankfort, Kentucky,” Bratcher explained. “Then last August, when my husband and I opened our retail location, One Love Hemp Dispensary BG, in downtown Bowling Green, Mandi worked with us on that as well. Our families are close, so it wasn’t long before she introduced me to her sister, Jessicka, and we realized that we had met each other years back and shared many of the same friends.”

Looking for ideas to drive foot traffic to the newly opened dispensary, Bratcher suggested hosting a Halloween-themed event at the store, which would lead to the beginning of Y’allternative Events.

“I thought we should put together a little costumed meet-up at my store, and then we would all leave together and walk the square for ‘Scare on the Square,’” she said. “I suddenly had so many requests to be a vendor. I quickly became overwhelmed. So, I approached Mandi and Jessicka with the idea of doing a small pop-up vendor event. They were eager to team up with me, and the 2023 Witches’ Bazaar was born. We had a blast, and so did our vendors. Many of them pleaded with us to do another vendor show indoors, maybe for the holidays. We realized we had something special and decided to do a Yuletide Holiday Market, which was a resounding success.”

In less than a year, the group has hosted several successful events, including the Yuletide Holiday Market in December 2023, the 2024 Kentucky Cannabis Conference in Frankfort, the 420 Music Fest at White Squirrel Brewery, and the most recent Flora and Fauna Spring Market at the Greenwood Mall in Bowling Green.

Bratcher said the public’s response has been positive. They hope to continue to grow and promote the amazing talent in and around Bowling Green.

“Our goal is to create a platform highlighting the talents of artisans and handmade vendors who often don’t receive as much recognition,” she explained. “By showcasing their unique crafts to the community, we hope to give them a well-deserved spotlight and increase awareness about their work. Additionally, our initiative aims to make a positive impact by supporting individuals who are less fortunate, thereby contributing to a more inclusive and supportive society.”

In the future, Bratcher said the plan is to continue to be involved in the community, promoting Bowling Green’s talent and bringing new events to the community.

“We love helping emerging artists feel seen, appreciated, and encouraged,” she said. “We have been presented with opportunities to plan a grand opening, a music festival, and a few other private events. Subscribe to our email list at yallternativeevents.com and watch for more of our inclusive events popping up all over Kentucky.” GN

More Good News

Alumni Helping Alumni

Alumni Helping Alumni

“WE ARE stronger together” has become a motto used to encourage individuals to band together to accomplish a greater good for the entire community. In keeping with this growing momentum across the...

read more
In Other News

In Other News

Bowling Green Recognizes New Citizens The city of Bowling Green celebrated the country’s new citizens during its annual Reception for New Americans Sept. 14 at the Sloan Convention Center. The city...

read more
In Other News

“In Other News.”

Breast Cancer Detection App Created by Western Kentucky University Alumna. IN 2003, while taking a shower, Jessica Baladad noticed a lump in her breast, which led to its removal, and she began...

read more
Letter From the Editor: Saluting Our Local Heroes

Letter From the Editor: Selfess

THE MERRIAM-WEBSTER dictionary defines the word selfless as “someone who has no concern for self, or unselfish.” As the world keeps turning, it may feel like selfless people are few and far between....

read more