PARKERSBURG - The first Downtown Winter Market of the season was a success Saturday with more than 2,000 people coming through the doors and purchasing goods from the vendors.
"Things have gone really well," said Rickie Yeager, Parkersburg planning administrator. "People have been coming in and walking around all day in a steady stream, which is great."
The Winter Market, which is in its second year, is an extension of the Downtown Farmers' Marketplace. It was held in the West Virginia University at Parkersburg downtown campus, 707 Market St., for three hours into the early afternoon on Saturday.
Photo by Jolene Craig
People watch as local celebrity cook Kiki Angelos, right, demonstrates how to make pumpkin strudel cake on Saturday at the Parkersburg Downtown Winter Market in the West Virginia University at Parkersburg downtown campus at 707 Market St.
The market will be held once a month throughout the winter, Yeager said.
"If this first one is any indication of the rest of the season, the market will be bigger than last year's," he added. "This year's is starting off bigger than last year, so we can only guess what will happen."
While the first winter market event last year included 15 vendor booths, this year's was full with 18 vendors that sold everything from dietary supplements and jewelry to baked goods. The market also showcased works by local artisans as well as new vendors.
For the first time, the market offers a select cut of meats - including chicken, rabbit, duck, lamb, pork and goat - from Gardner Farms in Waverly.
"It was a busy day," said proprietor Larry Gardner. "The lamb was very popular and a lot of people came in and bought from us, so we look forward to next month."
The West Virginia University Wood County Extension Office has also become involved by helping educate people through the Winter Blues Healthy Lifestyle School (WBHLS).
Eleven people attended the first class, debunking the myths of food preservation (canning), which told participants how to properly and healthfully can food.
"Canning has been passed on from generation to generation, and often times the safe ways of canning were not a concern," said Paula Strawder, family and health extension agent. "If a food is not properly canned, it could contain dangerous bacteria, including botulism, which can be deadly."
Future WBHLS seminars at the market will be: Dec. 1, With just minutes to cook it (preparing healthy meals on a budget); Jan. 5, Don't hibernateactivate! (getting back on track after the holidays); Feb. 2, Making the healthy choice (guest speaker TBA); and March 2, Container gardening (who knew you could grow that in there).
If people attend four of the five seminars, they will be entered into a drawing for a $50 gift certificate at the end of the season, Strawder said. The gift card will be redeemable at the Downtown Farmers' Marketplace starting in May 2013.
"This new educational program is designed to help people make healthier lifestyle choices," Yeager said.
The lifestyle school is made possible by the Highmark Foundations' "Let's Move!" Cities and Towns Partnership Program. For more information visit the market's website at www.parkersburgfarmersmarket.com or look up the Downtown Farmers' Marketplace on Facebook.
The Downtown Winter Market will be open from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. the first Saturday of the month throughout the winter. Those dates are Dec. 1, Jan. 5, Feb. 2 and March 2.