City Farmers Market in Hagerstown kicks off Holiday Happenings

December 01, 2007|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI


A vendor stood outside in the frosty air, holding up Christmas trees for inspection by families. Inside, festive tunes rang out from a piano and spirited chatter filled the air as patrons strolled the aisles.

'Tis the season to be jolly, and the atmosphere at City Farmers Market in Hagerstown was just that.

A program of seasonal activities dubbed "Holiday Happenings" kicked off Saturday at the market with extended hours, holiday crafts for children and Santa's Secret Gift Shop, where children could discreetly buy their parents gifts for less than $5.

Vendors offered seasonal crafts, home décor, and baked goods, and local TV and radio personality Lou Scally broadcast the activity live on WJEJ.


City Farmers Market Liaison Colleen Garringer said the market is enjoying a resurgence of people who want to buy local, handmade and homemade items.

"This year, we're seeing more and more people. Most of our vendors sell locally handmade items so you're not gonna find them at Wal-Mart,' Garringer said. "We're seeing a real upswing in people wanting to buy locally handmade, not made in China, type of gifts."

Garringer said people who are relocating to the Washington County area seem to appreciate the quaintness of the farmers market.

"New people moving into the area come down to have breakfast, listen to music and buy gifts. It's just a neat community kind of place," she said.

Merry Ellen Poole attested to that.

Poole, 63, was raised in Alabama then lived in Montgomery County, Md., before moving to Hagerstown about 4 1/2 years ago. Poole said she goes to the market every week and usually takes her four granddaughters.

"I love to come here," Poole said. "It's the best place for kids. It's the best place for adults, too. They have real quality products here and it's such a wonderful environment. The people are so great," she said.

Poole said the personal touches of the vendors make the market special. One vendor saved an item for her because Poole forgot her checkbook.

"The primary thing is the friendliness of the people. It's kind of like family. There is camaraderie, the feeling of being home. It's a warm, fuzzy place."

Area natives enjoy the market, too.

Marion Reno, 70, of Hagerstown, said she has been going to the market since her grandfather took her as a little girl.

"My grandfather came at 4 in the morning. He'd pick you up if it was snowing or sleeting," Reno said.

Reno stopped by vendor R & B Crafts and Baked Goods Saturday to pick up some pies and cakes for the Sunday school class she teaches.

Beverly Faith, who runs the booth, spoke warmly as she packed up Reno's vanilla cheesecake.

"Alright honey, now if you need anything special, you just give me a call," Faith said.

Donning a red-and-gold Christmas princess crown on her head, 17-month-old Eden Kerns danced to the Christmas music then colored a holiday themed picture. Her grandmother, Cindy Kerns, 50, of Hagerstown, said she went to the market shopping for homemade toys for Christmas gifts.

"I bought a little bumblebee jack-in-the-box. They have a very nice rocking horse, too, and it took us a while to get away from that," Cindy Kerns said.

Garringer said the market, which is open Saturdays throughout the year from 5 a.m. to noon, would extend its hours until 2 p.m. and offer an array of special holiday activities from now until Christmas.

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