New Farmers Market prepares for big opening

PARKERSBURG – Work on the new Farmers Market at 113 Ann St. is rapidly progressing with its grand opening less than a week away.

The first Winter Market in the new location will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. More than a dozen vendors will be featured, Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell said.

Crews Friday were finishing the installation of lighting and renovating two bathrooms. The floor will be installed at the beginning of the week and crews have already installed rotating ceiling fans.

The fans sit at an angle, but rotate 360 degrees as they blow.

“They use very little electricity but it supplements the air flow, which will help with cooling the building and even the heating and air conditioning,” Newell said.

Crews finished work on a back parking lot for the building which will be available next week. The tent located at Bicentennial Park, the old location of the market, will be set up in the new parking lot and will have some outdoor vendors.

Newell said he believes parking will be sufficient for the Winter Market, but may be an issue in the future.

“There will be lot of free parking, but parking may be a problem from time to time,” he said.

Newell said a back deck will have to be replaced and won’t be in use next week.

“We’re not going to let people enter through the back. They’ll have to enter from the front of the building,” he said. Newell said there are plans to build a new deck which would also allow for the unloading of trucks for vendors.

A side deck is still in the plans, though it probably won’t be constructed until next spring, Newell said. That deck will have seating areas for people to order food inside and dine outside.

Eventually community gardens will be planted between the building and the flood wall, he said.

Only part of the building is complete and will be open Saturday, Newell said.

The center part of the building is being worked on and will be partially open in November.

Officials are wanting to install walk-in refrigeration and freezer units to allow for fish and meat vendors, and Newell said the city already is in discussion with some permanent vendors who want to cook on site, such as bakers and restaurants.

Newell said as the market gets under way at the new location, and as renovations are completed, the city will look to expand vendor offerings and amenities for customers.

“We talked about this building eight years ago when we first envisioned a farmers market,” he said. “We’re very excited about this.”