At long last a new Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market will open in Wooster with a festival atmosphere on Aug. 17 and run for 12 Saturdays through Nov. 2. After two long years of planning and struggling, it will finally happen with a big celebration. The grand beginning will start early at 5:30 a.m. and a free breakfast will be served. There will be face painting for the kids. Road Runner’s President Emily Harris said, “I have no idea how many vendors will be there; but this Market will definitely finally happen.”
Harris helped spear-head a drive to receive funding when she and a small group attended a training opportunity on nutrition that was offered across the state and applied for a grant. Happily, a $2,000.00 grant was awarded for seed money for the market. The Roadrunner’s Extension Homemakers Club is sponsoring the Market made possible through the support from the Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas and the Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention (ArCOP).
A few organizational meetings were recently held involving community leaders. Wooster Mayor Terry Don Robinson, the Road Runner’s Extension Homemakers Club, Faulkner County Citizens Advisory Group, the UCA Environmental Alliance, and interested citizens all partnered to nurture the Market. Wooster City Park, located just south of Patton Road and Highway 25, is a perfect location for family fun. It has a walking track and playground available—and now good nutritious home-grown produce for health. A plus will be crafters with quality home-made items. The Market will encourage educational booths to participate such as 4-H, FFA, EAST lab students, and other community groups.
The Advisory Board members for this season are Emily Harris, Jerry Boyer, Gerri Johnson, Freddie Mark Wilcox, Donna J. Spurrier, Bill Wilson, and Dirk Deturk. There will be no fees for vendors this first season — only a $5 fee for electricity if you need it, payable to the City of Wooster. The Market aim is to offer a welcoming and friendly atmosphere to all who visit, buy, or sell items that are home-grown and/or home-made. They want a well maintained Market operated for the sale of locally grown, high quality, healthy farm products and high quality, homemade crafts at reasonable prices.
Vendors may sell from the back of their own vehicle or from under their canopy, shade or large tent-like covering. They are responsible for all set up and removal of their items and trash must be cleaned up before leaving the park. No live animals or birds are allowed to be present or sold on Wooster City Park grounds. No alcohol or firearms of any type are allowed.
A vendor may have up to three helpers at their booth that must be identified to the Market Manager of the day. The vendor must be present at the booth for at least 75 percentof the sales time. Prices of goods being sold must be displayed on a sign no smaller than a 3x5 note card. Customer sampling of foods at vendor booths is prohibited.
Hank Chaney, Kami Marsh, Melanie Malone (Faulkner Co. Extension Agents) and Amanda Potter Cole (Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention) serve as resources and provide guidance to the Wooster Farmer’s and Crafter’s Market community. The Roadrunner’s EHC is a division of the University of Arkansas, Department of Agriculture.
The Market will be open from 6-10 a.m. on Saturdays of each week starting Aug. 17 and continuing until Nov. 2 at the Wooster City Park. All vendors must be present by 5:30 p.m. to register and set up. Sales start at 6 a.m. For this first Saturday, vendors may get full rules and applications when they arrive or may pick up at 104 Patton Road in Wooster. Those will also be available from the market manager on Market Saturdays. For more information, email: WoosterMarket@gmail.com or phone 501-581- 7371. Come and celebrate the wonderful new opening to help make it a success.