Tenth year of the Saturday Market promises new things and more of what people love
The Augusta Market at the River will celebrate its 10th anniversary with new partnerships and new events designed to broaden the reach of the Saturday staple.
“It started out as more of a farmers market, but it’s evolved now into a full-blown local artisans market,” says market Director Brooke Buxton. “It’s almost like a festival every weekend.”
That festival feeling will be in full force this Saturday, with appearances by members of Symphony Orchestra Augusta’s brass section, Garden City Jazz and an art festival sponsored by Artists Row.
Artists Row President Syd Padgett says the inclusion of Saturday’s art festival is refreshing the market as well as downtown.
“We’re going to extend the market all the way down to the river where the city built a stage last year,” he says. “We’re going to do our regular market hours down there from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. and then, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., we’re bringing it back over to Broad Street where all the different galleries are.”
That kind of spirit is what Buxton was striving for when she took over the market in 2010.
“I personally have a passion for all of downtown, and to see the market continue to grow from what it was is rewarding,” she says. “It has a visual arts presence, a jazz presence and it’s got the local produce and other things you think of as part of a farmers market.”
Artists will be collaborating on a mural that will later make its way over to Artists Row when the crowd moves on.
Though the Saturday market has sometimes struggled to stake a claim on a long-term location, the event seems to have found a home at the fountain entrance to the Riverwalk, otherwise known as the 8th Street bulkhead. There, vendors of everything from homemade soap to caricatures to starter plants man tables and greet the public, rain or shine.
The bread has become especially popular.
“We have three or four bakeries who come out, including Lil’ Dutch Bakery and Manuel’s Bread Café,” Buxton says.
Manuel’s, now a popular North Augusta restaurant, got its start at the market, and though Buxton would like to feature more restaurants, she says she’s happy at the varied way in which the market has grown.
“Initially when I took the market over, I would call people and ask them to participate,” she says. “We had a list at that time of about 400 vendors, and I called them all and invited them back out, but after that first year, they came to me. This year, I’m more concerned if we’re going to have the space to hold them all.”
Another interesting new addition to the market is the Triple 8 Run, an eight-mile run that starts at 8 a.m. at the 8th Street Plaza (hence the Triple 8). The bi-state loop includes the Riverwalk, two bridge crossings and the North Augusta Greeneway and will occur each of the 36 weeks of the market.
“The YMCA is sponsoring it,” Buxton says. “And for people who are trying to get into running, we’re offering a three-mile and a six-mile course as well as a walking group.”
Vendor membership packages give a significant discount to those who commit to a full season, but Buxton says that only amounts to about 25 percent of the vendors, which means that every market is going to be a little bit different. You Might Also Like: