This year's Shopping by Lantern Light, 6–8 p.m. Tuesday on Charlie Olliff Square, off East Main Street behind the Synovus bank, will be the largest in the Main Street Farmers Market's 12-year history, predicts market manager Relinda Walker.
The holiday-decorated event on the Tuesday evening before Thanksgiving has capped the open-air market's season, after the final Saturday morning, except for a couple of years when rain prompted delay or cancellation. Heading into the weekend, the National Weather Service forecast for Statesboro indicates a sunny day Tuesday, followed by only a 20% chance of rain that night.
'There's no rain predicted for the market hours, thank goodness, and it's going to be the biggest one ever,' Walker said. 'We're going to have to expand our space a little bit to accommodate about 65 vendors, and everybody is pretty excited.'
Shopping by Lantern Light offers more arts and crafts, and more prepared foods suitable as holiday treats, than the Saturday morning markets, where whole foods from area farms, fisheries and apiaries are the starring attractions.
Unless there are cancellations, Tuesday's special market will include 11 whole foods vendors, all but one of whom have been regulars on recent Saturdays, Walker said. But by this time of year even the whole foods seem holiday-oriented. Take for example Georgia Sweet Fuyu persimmons and Franklin Citrus Farms satsumas and tangerines.
The Herb Lady, a market regular, will have chestnuts. Jacobs Farms, Anthony's Roots and B& G Honey are also among the returning regulars.
Prosser's Seafood still has shrimp, and both Hunter Cattle Company and 920 Cattle have locally raised beef for sale. This is not a complete list.
Additionally, 26 vendors, including 16 who have been part of the Main Street Market's regular season and 10 appearing just by lantern light, will offer prepared foods.
These include 'all the baked goods, pralines, cookies, cakes, Caribbean food,' Walker said. 'We've got candied apples, creamed honey, barbecued ribs from the KickBack Shack, cheese straws, popcorn of course, jerked chicken.'
Hardcore Apples & Sweets offers 'very elaborate gourmet caramel apples … perfect for the holidays,' she said. Diep's Kitchen's treats include French macarons, not to be confused with coconut macaroons. Three Tree Coffee is bringing its beverage trolley and 4& 20 Bakers its food truck.
'Jimmy Melton at Scratch Made Catering is a popular
caterer who's one of our regular vendors, and we also have Eagle Creek Brewing coming with some prepared foods,' Walker added. 'So it's a pretty broad spectrum.'
Another 21 vendors — just six of them farmers market regulars — will bring the craft and art items.
Maypops and Magnolias is the vendor name of a craftsperson who makes intricate, nature-inspired fabric collage items such as purses and pillows. Other names such as Maypops & Magnolias, Rags 2 Glory Dolls, Burlap & Cotton and Radiant Stitches suggest variety.
Barrow Woodworks and Sugar Pearl's jewelry are among the established favorites with shoppers.
Broadwell Christmas Cards is a local vendor of handmade cards who gives proceeds to charity.
About five 'community organization' booths, such as those from the Statesboro Convention and Visitors Bureau and Usborne Books, round out the list. Rolling Monkey, a first-time participant, is slated to bring gift cards but not actual ice cream, Walker said.
In a good year, 2,000 shoppers turn out for this event. Live music is also a part of Shopping by Lantern Light, and this year, Free Spirits Orchestra from Savannah is scheduled to perform.
When interviewed Friday, Walker was also preparing for Saturday's 9 a.m.– 12:30 p.m. final market of the regular season.
Of 34 Saturday farm markets scheduled, it will be the 32nd actually held, after two rain cancellations.
Typical attendance has been 500 to 1,000 shoppers, seeing usually 25–35 vendors.
'It's been a fantastic year … and there are still opportunities for growth,' Walker said.
The seasonal market will reopen April 4, 2020.