Collages by Meghann Gaunt Chesnut, Market PR Coordinator
By: Kathryn Engle
The Knox County Farmers’ Market held its grand opening on June 19th. We had 15 vendors and hundreds of customers participate in the kickoff. Patrons lined up outside the market waiting for 5:00 to come and for the vendors to be set up.
An information booth staffed by Lend-A-Hand volunteers signed up people for a free raffle of items donated by Union College. A demonstration by the “Simple Living” group showed how to make a handwashing station.
Products available at the market included a wide mix of goods including potatoes, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, honey, coffee, shaved ice, blueberries, hamburgers, meats, corn, and greens.
We had a bailing twine cutting to officially open the market and had music from a local performer. We also had line dancers perform and we raffled off several items that were donated by Union College.
The Lend-A-Hand Grow Appalachia Gardening Program sold produce from the community garden with Donnie and our interns Hannah and Laura working the information booth. Two of the garden program participants sold produce.
The weather was perfect for the opening except for a stray shower that hit at the very end of the market. A rainbow capped off a perfect opening night.
We are excited as the market has grown throughout the summer. We continue to have special events, demonstrations, raffles, children’s activities, and music and entertainment. We have met every week and our vendors generated over $15,000 in revenue just in the first six weeks. We have over 50 registered vendors and a new mix of vendors every week. We are selling t-shirts and bags and are looking to expand next year. The market has also donated produce to local nonprofit organizations, sharing the bounty of Knox County produce throughout the county.
We have had such a great response from the community over the summer as we continue to expand and make connections with customers and producers. Tonight we are having a harvest festival with a pumpkin carving contest, pumpkin painting, and plenty of fall decorations. The market continues through the last Thursday in October and will be starting up again in April.
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