PARKERSBURG - The Downtown Farmers' Marketplace will kick off its fifth season at Bicentennial Park Friday.
"Everyone's excited for the market to reopen," said Rickie Yeager, planning administrator for the city of Parkersburg.
Officials said the market has become a destination of sorts, attracting downtown employees as well as local residents. Yeager said this is evident by the traffic on market days.
Photo by Jody Murphy
Bicentennial Park will be brimming with activity Friday when the Downtown Farmers’ Marketplace kicks off its fifth season.
Officials said once the market opens, the area is flooded with people who live in the region, but don't work downtown. The demographic changes dramatically at lunch when downtown workers step out of their office to check out what is ripe and ready for the buying, according to Yeager.
"Fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products (brown eggs and cheese), baked goods, fresh-cut flowers, potted plants, hot prepared food items, soaps, jewelry and more await shoppers this season," he said.
The market will be open every Tuesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
To celebrate the market's fifth season, organizers have planned a variety of activities and special promotions. Some old favorites include live musical entertainment on the first and third Friday each month.
Organizers have altered the cooking demonstration. Live cooking demonstrations or Fiesta Fridays will be held. Organizers will try to feature a different chef from the Mid-Ohio Valley each week. This will be complimented by Tasting Tuesdays, where market customers can sample some of the best cuisine around town and across the valley, according to Yeager.
New to the market this year is the Farm to Market Consignment Table.
"The consignment table was started to increase the variety of goods available at the market," said Ann Conageski, development director for the city of Parkersburg. "It's a great way for farmers to get their product to market without having to physically come to the market." To date, two vendors have signed up to sell their products on consignment: Laurel Valley Creamery Farmstead Cheese out of Gallipolis, Ohio, and Uncle Bunk's in Sistersville, W.Va. "We're optimistic this program will grow in the future, benefiting not only the farmer, but market customers too," said Yeager.
Samples will be given out at the information booth each Tuesday at noon. There will be enough samples for 50 people; customers are encouraged to get to the booth early. And for the bargain shoppers , select items will be discounted on the first and third Tuesday of each month. A list of discounted items will be posted on those select Tuesdays by 10 a.m. on the market's Facebook page.
Yeager encouraged market attendees to become fans and 'Like' the market's page at Downtown Farmers' Market.
"This is a great opportunity to grab some bargain deals and awesome steals on all your favorite items," he said.
Yeager also said I Am, Chef, children's empowerment program is back by popular demand. The program features a hands-on cooking demonstration, physical activity and tour of the marketplace. I Am Chef will be held on the second and fourth Tuesdays each month. This program is free and open to the public.
Other special events and activities are planned throughout the season. For the latest information, check out the market's website at www.parkersburgfarmersmarket.com, sign up for a monthly e-newsletter or follow online on the Downtown Farmers' Marketplace Facebook page.
The first 100 mothers to stop by the information booth on May 11 will receive a free dahlia plant from Dave's Greenhouse.
"People are encouraged to line of up early as the potted plants go fast," Yeager said.