Shopping by Lantern Light, 6-8 p.m. tonight - Tuesday, both caps the 10th annual Main Street Statesboro Farmers Market season and launches local holiday shopping.
The 34 regular Saturday morning markets of 2017, from early April through this past Saturday, featured more music than other recent seasons. Area singers and musicians, including solo acts and bands, took turns performing during each of the daytime markets except for one Saturday during the summer, said Main Street Farmers Market Manager Melanie Sparrow.
Shopping by Lantern Light, also based in Charlie Olliff Square, off East Main Street behind Sea Island Bank, carries the music into Thanksgiving week. Traditional, or “Americana,” musicians Micahlan Boney and the Pig Eye Daddies will perform while shoppers browse among craft items and more prepared foods than were typical for the warm-weather markets.
“So people can actually eat dinner and walk around the market and shop, and we’ll have some local catering companies as well,” Sparrow said.
Among 20 scheduled vendors are Franklin Citrus, with satsumas now in season, Georgia Farm Products with persimmons, Mascot Pecan, Soap Batch with handmade soaps, Mark’s Boards with refurbished wood items, local author Jenny Massey and Treats & Sweets by Iris.
The Statesboro First United Methodist Women have cookbooks for sale. Nature’s Creations and Big Boy Cookies offer baked goods. Hanson’s Custom Crafts has Christmas ornaments and other decorative items. Other vendors are listed to bring purses and bags, decorative wine bottles and other craft items.
This gift-focused seasonal selection differs substantially from that of the regular weekly markets now concluded for the season. Those offered “about an equal number of produce vendors and farmers and food purveyors with prepared foods” plus “a smaller number of craft vendors because we’re primarily a food market,” said Sparrow.
For shoppers still interested in winter produce and other items by local growers, makers and bakers, the affiliated online market, Statesboro Market2Go, continues year-round. Market2Go orders are scheduled for pickup at Sugar Magnolia Bakery, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. every Thursday except Thanksgiving. See http://statesborofarmersmarket.com/market2go for information about becoming a member.
The 2017 season ends in transition for the Main Street Farmers Market, which operates as an arm of the Downtown Statesboro Development Authority but has its own board. Some key personnel are moving on.
Sparrow has resigned after two seasons as market manager. She has another job in Statesboro and said that two full-time jobs are too much. But she added that she will continue to shop at the market and maintain friendships she gained there.
“Although my time with the market comes to a close at the end of this year, I will always be thankful for all that it has brought to me,” Sparrow posted on the market’s website. “Thanks to each and every vendor, staff member, sponsor and supporter.”
Paula Freeman, after six years as market accountant, is also leaving that role.
“It has been a lot of fun, but I need to focus more on my family and other commitments,” she said in an email.
Theresa Beebe-Novotny is also concluding her term as market board chair, Sparrow said.
This year’s weekly markets averaged about $5,300 in sales each, with a typical attendance of almost 1,000 shoppers, Freeman reported before the Saturday’s final morning market. About 30 vendors typically participated, out of 40 signed up for the season, Sparrow said.