Sunday, February 23, 2014

Oconee County Farmers Market To Launch 11th Season On Saturday, April 5, At Courthouse

Tuesday Launch May 13

Oconee Farmers Market will launch its 11th season with the opening of the Saturday market on April 5 and the Tuesday evening market on May 13.

The Saturday market will once again be in front of the courthouse in downtown Watkinsville.

The Tuesday evening market will be at Watkinsville First Christian Church at the corner of Simonton Bridge Road and Main Street, also in downtown Watkinsville.

Market Manager Cindy Pritchard announced the launch dates at a meeting of market vendors on Thursday evening at the library in Watkinsville.

Vendors responded enthusiastically, with several saying they would be ready to put up their tents and display their wares even earlier.

Last Year A Success

This is the third year the Saturday market will be held in front of the courthouse in downtown Watkinsville. The Market began on the lawn of Eagle Tavern across from the courthouse, moved to the area behind the Tavern, and then moved to its current location to improve visibility.

Market Manager Pritchard

Pritchard said that at the height of the season last year the Saturday market had 42 vendors.

The Tuesday evening market was started to build on that success, giving customers and vendors additional opportunities to buy and sell.

At one point last year, 22 vendors set up stalls at the Tuesday market.

“We finished really strong,” Pritchard told the 21 people at the vendor meeting. “This was our strongest fall yet.”

The Saturday market ended November 30. The Tuesday market ended on Oct. 1.

Vendor Fees Stay Same

Pritchard told the vendors at the meeting on Thursday that fees will stay the same for this year.

Vendors can pay a flat fee of $250 for the season of the Saturday market and a $50 flat fee for the Tuesday market.

Vendors also have the option of paying 5 percent of their gross, payable each week.

The Saturday market starts at 8 a.m. and ends at 1 p.m.

The Tuesday market runs from 4 to 7 p.m.

Youngest Vendor Returning

Pritchard’s daughter, Lexi, the market’s youngest vendor at age 9, was at the meeting on Thursday, though she spent most of the time in the corner doing school work.

Market's Youngest Vendor

Lexi is now a market veteran, with this upcoming season her sixth.

Pritchard said tonight that Lexi will continue to sell lemonade and flowers. In fact, according to Pritchard, Lexi will have an expanded flower offering.

And, with some luck and help from her father, she’ll have her birdhouses for sale once again.

Other Activities Planned

The fourth Saturday of the month will feature children’s activities, as was the case last year, Pritchard told the vendors.

Included will be a celebration of beef month with calves on display and dog days of summer with Oconee County Animal Control showing pets for adoption.

Last year the market had a demonstration on how to start plants in a cup, pumpkin decorating, tips on Thanksgiving crafts, and food sampling for school lunches.

Annie Kennedy, a member of the Board of Directors of the Market and a vendor, announced on Thursday that the second annual Fields of Promise fundraising dinner has been scheduled for June 21 at Thomas’ Cotton Gin on SR 15 south of Watkinsville.

The event raised more than $10,000 last year to benefit Oconee County agricultural students, she said, and the goal this year is to raise even more. Details will be released at the market.

(I am a customer representative on the market Board.)

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