Participating in the recent ribbon cutting ceremony for Chestertown’s first-ever weekly Farmers’ Market are (left to right): Angie Mead, Mary Hane Dower, Ana Martha Torres, Fred Monroe and Dee Beckler. The Chestertown Farmers’ Market has been hailed as a success by vendors, organizers and shoppers, and it is expected that the venue will be even busier by mid-summer with the arrival of second homeowners and vacationers.
While many community events and civic enterprises may take years to become established, the Chestertown Farmer’s Market has achieved success — right out of the gate.
Vendors, shoppers, market management and local officials have all termed the market successful after only two weeks in operation. The market is held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays on the lawn of the Chester Municipal Center,
A group of eight women have launched the market, dreamed up early this year at a meeting of the Tri-lakes Business Alliance.
One of the organizers, Cindy Mead, said the first two market events drew good-sized crowds, and most vendors sold out of their produce and goods.
“It has far exceeded our expectations,” Mead said July 2. “We are thrilled.”
Vendor Jon Dickinson, who sells baked goods as well as gourmet crepes created on the spot, said he was surprised with the turnout. Dickinson and his wife Tamberlyn will be bringing an extra crepe maker this week.
“We got a great response, and the the Chestertown market has become one of his very favorites,” he said.
Town of Chester Supervisor Fred Monroe said the weekly local market has injected new energy into the hamlet.
“The market’s had a great turnout, and it’s enlivening the town,” he said.
Mary Jane Dower, who’s spearheaded a downtown revitalization committee, said the market has demonstrated what can be done in a collaborative effort.
“It’s wonderful to get so much support from the citizens of Horicon, Pottersville and Chestertown,” she said, noting that the more people visiting downtown will likely spur new businesses to fill empty storefronts. “It’s great to see the enthusiasm.”
The group working long volunteer hours to organize the market include Dee Beckler Angie Mead, Karen Burka, Carol Monroe, Becky Hill Barbara Thomas, as well as Cindy Mead and Mary Jane Dower.
In addition to an array of produce, the vendors offer fine crafts, pottery, jewelry and artwork.
One of the attractions of the market, Mead said, was a featured musician performing live each week. For the June 20 opening edition, young Cristo Lewis, who in 2008 played a mean “Folsom Prison Blues” at age 7, performed classical music on his keyboards. Next week, the acclaimed Steven L. Smith, renowned country singer, will be performing. Local resident Hawazin Harijan is booking the musicians.
Mead noted that the turnout of 267 shoppers the first week and 288 the second could multiply in the coming weeks, as the population of the upcounty towns quadruples during mid-summer.
“Once the second homeowners and vacationers get here, the farmers’ market will be huge,” she said. “We’re thrilled.”
Vendors wishing to participate can call Mary Jane Dower at 494-3336 or obtain an application from: www.chestertownfarmersmarket.com .