PARKERSBURG - The Downtown Farmers' Marketplace on Saturday will kick off several yuletide programs in downtown Parkersburg, organizers said.
"What has turned into a weeklong celebration kicks off this Saturday, Dec. 1, with a special holiday market," said Rickie Yeager, planning administrator for the city of Parkersburg.
On Saturday, the market will feature handcrafted wreaths and other Christmas decorations, local produce, select cuts of pork, lamb, chicken and goat, knitted wares and other agricultural products, including honey, soaps and sundries. More than 18 vendors are participating, Yeager said.
"We're going to try and accommodate everyone, despite having a smaller venue this season," Yeager said.
At 11 a.m. the market's Winter Blues Healthy Lifestyle School resumes with a special presentation on how to cook quick and healthy meals on a budget. Participants will learn how to purchase and prepare a healthy meal in just minutes with Megan Buskirk.
Buskirk is the nutrition event coordinator with the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department. In years past, she has organized cooking demonstrations for kids at the farmers' market. She will cook wilted cabbage with toasted cumin over brown rice and curried chickpeas.
The first 20 participants to register for the class will receive the recipe and the ingredients, including the produce and spices. Participants can register on Saturday or can contact Jay Fisher at 304-424-8518 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
All participants are to check in at the information booth. The school is made possible by the Highmark Foundation's Let's Move! Cities and Towns Partnership Program.
"If you're still looking for a unique gift idea or just want an old-fashioned shopping experience this holiday, then consider coming downtown for the Winter Market this weekend," said Carrie Nesselrode, executive director of Downtown PKB. "Some downtown businesses will be open and several restaurants are planning to be open for lunch."
Among those are the Crystal Cafe, Mango Latin Bistro, The Daily Grind and Spatz at the Blennerhassett Hotel, she said.
The Winter Market is at 705 Market St. in the new West Virginia University at Parkersburg Downtown Center. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and patrons will be treated to hot coffee, cocoa and cookies while supplies last.
More downtown holiday events also are planned.
The Holiday Lights Bike Ride I will be held Tuesday.
Riders will depart from the pavilion at City Park at 5:30 p.m. and make their way downtown where they will participate in the annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at city hall at Third and Market streets. Riders can also warm up with cookies, coffee and hot cocoa.
The cyclists after the lighting ceremony will return to City Park where they can ride through the holiday lights displays.
The tree lighting ceremony starts at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The South Parkersburg Baptist Church Kids Choir will perform. Refreshments will be available; the event is free and open to the public.
The annual Christmas Parade in downtown Parkersburg begins at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 8. The parade is organized by Clear Channel Radio.