PARKERSBURG - The Downtown Farmers' Marketplace on Saturday will end its first winter season.
"It did go by fast," said Rickie Yeager, planning administrator for the city of Parkersburg and a prime organizer of the market.
While the winter season ends on Saturday, the regular summer season for the market will commence on May 11 at its traditional location, Bicentennial Park between the courthouse and the municipal building, Yeager said.
The winter market debuted on Feb. 4 at the Market Street location of the future downtown campus of West Virginia University at Parkersburg. More than 2,000 people attended the market on opening day.
Businesses which otherwise would have been closed opened the days of the market, he said.
"I think it exceeded our expectations," Yeager said.
Because of the winter market, more vendors will participate in the regular season for the Downtown Farmers' Marketplace in Parkersburg, an organizer said.
In that light, the market accomplished a goal, and that was to bring more people downtown on off days, said Cecil Childress, a market planner and the general manager of the Blennerhassett Hotel. The winter market was held on Saturdays.
"It filled up a lot of parking spaces," Childress said.
Several changes will be in store for the next winter market.
First, the site will not be available. The college's new culinary school is expected to be open by this time next year, Yeager said.
"That space won't be available," he said.
Organizers of the market are looking at other venues that will allow for a year-round market, Childress said. Nothing is firm, but people are looking, he said.
"We're looking at a couple of opportunities for us to create a year-round market," Childress said.
The market on Saturday will highlight Cinco de Mayo, traditionally the day celebrated in Mexico much like July 4 is celebrated in the United States. On May 5, 1862, the Mexican army defeated the French invaders in the El Dia de la Batalla de Puebla, or the Day of the Battle of Puebla, Yeager said.
Hours will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday with fare celebrating the Mexican holiday. Children at the Kids Craft table can make a Mexican bird rattle free of charge.
Denise Blair at Cafe Blue will cook several Mexican dishes at noon.
Performing will be John Radcliff from 10 a.m. tonoon.
The market will open on May 11 and close on Oct. 26. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday and Friday.