Welcome back

Published 11:32 pm Thursday, May 3, 2007

By Staff
In a couple of weeks, May 19 to be exact, Saturday Market makes its return to Washington’s waterfront. After a successful debut last year, its re-emergence this year is more than welcome.
Saturday Market, held the third Saturday of each month from May through October, is a project of Downtown Washington on the Waterfront. Because DWOW’s Pickin’ on the Pamlico is scheduled for the third Saturday in August, that month’s Saturday Market is being held Aug. 11.
Although Saturday Market is about improving the area’s economy and helping bring people to the city’s downtown, it’s also a cultural, recreational and social event. Saturday Market incorporates the Farmers Market, an artisans market, a food court and a performance stage, a venue for people to showcase their talents.
Saturday Market came about after Cam and Shirley Padgett of Chocowinity visited their son in Eugene, Ore., which bills its Saturday market as the oldest weekly open-air crafts festival in America. The Padgetts, borrowing some ideas from the Saturday market in Eugene, were instrumental in helping DWOW set up its Saturday Market last year.
Saturday Market is proving to be a good draw for tourists and an excellent outlet for local farmers, artists and craftsmen to display and sell their goods, artwork and crafts. Joining the Saturday Market lineup this year are antiques and collectibles. The event draws people downtown, people who spend money at Saturday Market and downtown shops, with a side trip or two to Wal-Mart, Bill’s Hot Dogs or Lowe’s.
That’s good for the economy.
When neighbors run into neighbors at Saturday Market’s performance stage, food court, artisans market or Farmers Market, they get to know one another better. It’s also likely that strangers who meet at the first Saturday Market of the year become friends by the last Saturday Market of the year.
That’s good for improving human relations.
This year, the Saturday Market food court will be stocked with food provided by area nonprofit organizations. By allowing nonprofit groups to feed those who come to Saturday Markets, DWOW is providing opportunities, for a small fee, for those groups to raise money for projects that benefit many people in need.
That’s good for the community.
Growers who supply items for the Farmers Market are getting a helping hand. This year, DWOW decided to help support those growers. That support is coming from Rod Gurganus, an agricultural extension agent who works for N.C. Cooperative Extension office in Beaufort County, and the Beaufort County Farm Bureau.
That support includes, but is not limited to, educating farmers on how to grow specific crops, how to handle those crops and how to market those crops, Gurganus said earlier this year.
That’s good for the growers.
Saturday Market is more than just farmers growing produce and fruit for the Farmers Market, artists creating works of art and people displaying their talents on the performance stage. Participation in Saturday Market by vendors and patrons is about growing an economy, creating better communities and displaying concern for each other.
Feeding yourself by buying something from the food court could result in helping feed someone else. Buying a mess of greens from an area farmer puts greenbacks in that farmer’s pocket.
Welcome back, Saturday Market.