Downtown Farmers’ Market opens for new season

PARKERSBURG – The Downtown Farmers’ Market kicked off a new season Friday with free flowers for moms and entertainment for everyone.

Crowds and fair weather greeted the new summer season of the Downtown Farmers’ Market at Bicentennial Park. Officials rang the opening bell at 10 a.m. Friday to cheers from those lined up to shop.

Mayor Bob Newell visited the market and said he was pleased with the turnout and fair weather.

“It’s always exciting on opening day, and it’s usually one of our busiest days,” he said. “I was a little concerned about the weather, but it turned out very nice and we saw good turnout.

“I’m looking forward to another great season.”

The first 100 moms to visit the market Friday received free flowers, courtesy of Dave’s Greenhouse. Shoppers lined up around the park and all of the flowers were distributed within the first 10 minutes of the market opening.

Friday’s kickoff also featured performances by Dan Cunningham, an acoustic/folk artist from Morgantown, and a cooking demonstration by Gene Evans, program director for the Culinary Arts Academy at West Virginia University at Parkersburg, and some of his students.

This season officials also have introduced a community garden, which is adjacent to the market and was built by staff from Public Works Park’s Division. The garden is sponsored in part by the City of Parkersburg and the Highmark Foundations Let’s Move Cities, Towns and Counties Grant. It will be maintained by the Wood County Master Gardeners. Organizers and volunteers will establish the garden on Friday. They will plant a variety of herbs and vegetables including tomatoes, colored peppers, lettuce, yellow squash, bush beans, cucumbers, basil, swiss chard, chives and baby pumpkins.

Friday also marked the start of the market’s Veggie Valet Program. The marketplace has made arrangements to store goods at the Blennerhassett Hotel until they can be picked up after business hours. Items will be stored at appropriate temperatures to ensure they do not go bad. The program was designed with downtown employees in mind.

To pick-up goods, customers simply present a numbered ticket to the hotel’s valet or front desk staff.

For more information, including a calendar of events and list of participating vendors, visit The Downtown Farmers’ Marketplace is also on Facebook and distributes a monthly newsletter. The market is open from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. every Tuesday and Friday, May through September.