River City Farmers Market ready to open Saturday
Event debuts at new location on Butler Street
The River City Farmers Market is geared up for peak produce season for its debut this Saturday in downtown Marietta.
“We are ready, we’re excited and think we have about four spots open if someone wants to join us for our opening day,” said Board Member Tom Fagan. “Last weekend we handed out more than 600 fliers to customers who didn’t know where Butler Street was, and that wasn’t even all of the customers we talked with last week about our move this Saturday.”
The market’s board applied at the end of June to the mayor’s office for a street closure permit to close half of the 200 block of Second Street for a weekly farmers market.
The application was countered by the administration which Safety-Service Director Steve Wetz was done to keep Second Street as an alternate route for through-traffic if an incident were to close the state route passing through downtown on Third Street.
Now, the market temporarily close the 200 block of Butler Street, between Second and Third streets each Saturday between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m., with the market sales running between 8 a.m. and noon.
“I think we need to get people downtown and not only will that be a scheduled event that people will know it’s there but also people on state route 60 will see it and turn around and come back,” said Wetz.
Wetz was also excited by the idea of parking directional signs, directing traffic from the state route to the available free parking including both Parking Partners and the Butler Street parking lots owned by the city.
“There’s actually three parking lots right there if they need spaces,” said Wetz, noting that WesBanco has also offered its lot for patrons to park and walk into the Saturday market.
Vendors are to park parallel on the closed block with tables to in the roadway and an open fire lane down the middle of Butler Street.
“That’s what the fire department wanted for us to use that location,” explained Fagan. “We think depending on the sizes of vehicles we can fit between 40 and 44 vendor tables at a time in that spot.
“And I gave (Tom) permission to put a porta john in the corner of the Butler parking lot and let it stay there,” Wetz added.
The portable toilet, owned and serviced by Haas Septic and Portable Sanitation, will be placed in the northeast corner of the Butler Street parking lot for the continued use by the market patrons and vendors each weekend.
Fagan said the option allows for the market to return to the downtown district while still eyeing Second Street’s wider lanes and options for diagonal parking to ease vendor set-up and tear down.
“We want to make this transition as smooth and pleasant as possible for the members, too,” said Fagan. “So we’re gathering a list of volunteers to help with setup or tear down and would welcome any help.”
Fagan also noted that the market is interested in future partnerships with musicians, artists, demonstrators and downtown businesses and still offers free space to nonprofits/school groups and churches, and half price participation fees for children, FFA and 4-H members to sell their wares alongside the farmers and crafters.
“What’s great is we’re about to hit peak produce season, this is the time to come and get your fresh corn, to get your fruit and if you haven’t had one of the Hershberger girls’ fry pies, you’re missing out.”
The market opens at 8 a.m. Saturday.