A good product

Published 7:29 am Sunday, October 21, 2007

By Staff
Saturday Market is taking a break. Don’t worry. It will be back for another run next year.
Saturday Market, which comes to Washington’s waterfront the third Saturday of each month from May through October, provides area residents a somewhat unique option when it comes to finding something to do on those third Saturdays. Sort of like an open-air fair, Saturday Market provides visual artists, performing artists and agricultural artists — those who grow the produce, bake the breads and make the jellies and jams — an arena to showcase their talents.
Organized and presented by Downtown Washington on the Waterfront, Saturday Market also provides an opportunity for visitors to see, touch and taste what the locals add to the community with their creations, whether those creations please the eye or please the palate.
Saturday Market’s four components — an artisans market, a food court, a performance stage and the Farmers Market — provide four ways for people to display their talents.
Take the Farmers Market, which is held every Saturday from May through October. Farmers and producers have opportunities to show off their abilities to grow or make plump strawberries, succulent squash, sweet corn, peach preserves and blueberry jam.
As the farmers sell their produce, it’s not unusual for them to talk about how their goods made it to the market. They’ve been known to describe to young children who want to know where a basket of strawberries or a bushel of corn comes from how a field is prepared, seeds planted and crops harvested.
The performance venue provides a platform for local musicians and other performers to entertain folks visiting Saturday Market. It was at a Saturday Market that Bill Ebison, known as the Singing Meter Man, staged his production “Superschool!”
Ebison cobbled a group of musicians and performers who turn ordinary, inanimate items found in classrooms into things with something to say and sing. With characters such as Cheeree the Cafeteria Lady and Dawite the Dancing Desk, “Superschool!” is a fully staged presentation that targets children in the prekindergarten through third-grade levels.
Ebison adapted his program so it complements the state’s school curriculum. Ebison, the writer, musical director and producer of “Superschool!,” said his program teaches character building and emphasizes integrity, kindness, responsibility and perseverance.
That’s what’s so great about Saturday Market — it’s more than just entertainment and farmers selling produce.
The food court provides a venue for local churches, civic groups and nonprofit organizations to sell food to hungry market-goers, with the money they make being used to fund programs and projects that benefit the community.
The artisans market serves as a central location where area craftsmen demonstrate their creative skills as they offer their products to shoppers searching for birthday presents, holiday gifts and something for their homes and offices.
Sadly, Saturday Market is taking some Saturdays off during the next several months. But like spring strawberries that fade away as summer arrives, a new crop of Saturday Markets will be ready for harvesting next year.
Saturday Market brings people together, not only for buying and selling but for socializing, being entertained and enjoying the handiwork of talented friends, neighbors and strangers. What Saturday Market “sells” is the concept of improving the community.
That’s a concept the community should be buying.