RIO GRANDE — The Raised Around Rio Farmers and Artisan Market began its fifth year operating this month, and is looking forward to a season of new trends, items, and customers.
“It’s just trying to bring the community together, and have different variety of items and products and especially produce…,” Jennifer Littlejohn, manager of the event and vendor of Momma Ducks Creations, which sells handcraft soaps, lotions, crocheted items, and wooden items, said. “Everything is handmade, handcrafted.”
The market, managed by Littlejohn, first began in 2016. The market runs from May to October annually, set up weekly in this period on Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Littlejohn also organizes a Christmas bazaar. This year, Raised Around Rio did not begin until June, due to restrictions on social distancing and businesses reopening caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The first gathering of the year was June 3.
“We are seeing a lot of new faces this year…,” Littlejohn said. “A lot of people are tired of being home, so they’re knowing that this is an open market, that they’re able to come out feeling a bit more safe.”
Some vendors view the farmers market as a way to practice and fund hobbies and projects.
“I’ve got a variety of things, I get bored with the same thing over and over again, so for me this is an outlet and funding for a lot of fabric,” Tammy Dummitt of Little Bird Designs said. “I try to do new things every year.”
Dummitt believes that the farmers market is a good way to meet new people and strengthen community.
“It’s a hobby but also a kind of passion. I just enjoy meeting with everybody, talking with everybody, seeing who buys my things,” she said. “The community, the village has been really receptive.”
Customers also enjoy the market. Haley Rogers, a customer who first started coming to the market in June, said that she enjoys going to the market to buy plants, and that she finds a new plant every week. Rogers echoed that the market is a positive place to go.
“Everybody’s extremely nice, and everything is homemade,” she said.
The Raised Around Rio Farmers Market is held near the University of Rio Grande and Ohio Valley Bank, on North College Avenue.
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Sharla Moody is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing from Gallipolis, Ohio. She is a graduate of River Valley High School and currently attends Yale University.