The first annual Ladies Night Out at the Commons drew a crowd of about 500 women on Aug. 22.
In the two hours before the movie, I Don't Know How She Does It, mothers, daughters, grandmothers and friends came out in droves to chat, eat and sip wine, laugh and even dance a bit to the all-girl theme music that spilled out of the on-stage speakers.
Even Mother Nature seemed to get in the spirit of the combination craft fair-party atmosphere by providing a perfect 73 degrees.
About 30 vendors set up tables beneath the stage and around the perimeter of the Common selling everything from home-made jewelry to martini mix and from specialty foods to stemware.
Village trustee Annette Bowden and economic development director Nancy Hoehn thanked the vendors for their enthusiasm and Home Depot for sponsoring the event.
To the attendees, Bowden, who hatched the idea for a Ladies Night Out, offered a wide smile.
"I want you to have a good time," she said. "Enjoy yourselves."
For Cheri Jones, of Joliet, and friends Amy Botka and Chris Garza, the night was a rare chance to leave behind other responsibilities.
"It's a chance to get away from the kids and the husbands," Garza said.
Jones chimed in that it was time for a night out, "because we deserve it."
As the voice of entertainer Martina McBride sang This One's for the Girls, three generations of girls from New Lenox's Thompson Family paused for a photo and to chat over some of the vendor booths.
Carol Spencer, owner of The Barber's Chair on Route 30, said she came out to enjoy a nice evening and to look at the vendors. Tricia Rogde, of New Lenox, said she read about the event and "thought it would be fun."
For jewelry vendor Deanne Padilla, of Oak Lawn, a regular French Market participant, the event was a success. She'd sold a significant number of handcrafted pieces.
With less than a half-hour left, Bowden said she was pleased with the turn out.
"I think next year it'll be a lot bigger."