May 1, 2014 10:38:08 AM
Starkville Community Market begins its 2014 season with a limited, early season produce market 7:30 a.m. Saturday and a new, mid-week supplemental market 4 p.m. Tuesday.
The 2014 season marks the second year Greater Starkville Development Partnership officials will supervise the market. Starkville Main Street Association, a sub-group of the Partnership, took over leadership, oversight and promotions for SCM in late 2012.
While organizers spent the inaugural year ironing out logistics surrounding the event, Jennifer Prather, GSDP special events coordinator and market manager, said she will focus this year on gathering statistical data -- attendance figures, for example -- to help track SCM's success.
2013's market run marked a significant step for the event as SCM remained open through August due to increased vendors and consumer demand. Prather previously told The Dispatch that organizers and the SCM board of directors may consider formalizing last year's extension if supplies continue to increase. That move would allow the Partnership's annual Pumpkinpalooza event to serve as a bookend to market season.
"Last year was a big growth year for the market, but now we're focused on measuring the statistical data to help us continue to succeed," Prather said. "We're very fortunate to have new vendor applications coming in from all areas of the state. Expanding the market helps us to expand what we can offer to Starkville residents."
Those visiting Saturday's market can expect about 15 vendors selling green, early season vegetables and baked goods, Prather said. A public demonstration on rainwater utilization is also planned.
As the growth season progresses, shoppers can expect more diversity in produce and on-site demonstrations, she said.
Mid-week markets are expected to be condensed compared to their Saturday counterparts. Prather previously said she envisions it as a simple, quick stop for produce and baked goods only.
Volunteers are needed to help set up and take down vendor areas, participate in shopper censuses and handle logistical needs as they arise. Those interested can email Prather at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Volunteer Starkville at 662-268-2865.
The market, located at the intersection of South Jackson and Lampkin streets, runs 7:30-10:30 a.m. each Saturday through the spring and summer. The mid-week event will follow Saturday markets on Tuesdays from 4-6 p.m.
For more information on SCM, market guidelines and vendor applications, visit visit.starkville.org/market.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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