BETHANY - Local residents and visitors could find a variety of produce and other merchandise at the first Bethany Open Air Country Market Saturday.
The event brought together local dealers of vegetables, fruits and other items and residents who had their own wares or artistic skills to share.
Danielle Radcliffe, a member of the volunteer committee behind the event, said, "We'd like to make the market as diverse as possible. Our market is different because vendors aren't limited to baked goods or produce. We're looking for everything that makes this area of the state unique."
OPEN FOR BUSINESS — Bethany Mayor Jay Eisenhauer, Bethany Council members Pat Sutherland and Helen Moren, Town Recorder Cynthia Huffman and Town Treasurer Shirley Kemp joined the volunteer members of the Bethany Open Air Country Market Committee, vendors and visitors in marking the market’s first day with a ribbon cutting Saturday. The market will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the last Saturday of each month through October.
-- Warren Scott
The event is slated from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the last Saturday of each month on Ross Street, but the hours and other aspects may be tweaked a bit to ensure its future success.
Committee member Amy Van Horn said the market was advertised for vendors within a 25-mile radius of Bethany, but that restriction could be loosened to ensure more produce is available.
Vendors interested in participating should call (304) 829-7980 or send an e-mail to email@example.com for information.
Many on the Bethany Open Air Country Market Committee are affiliated with the social work department of Bethany College, but participants included Bethany area residents and town officials as well as faculty from other Bethany College departments.
The event is sponsored by the college, town of Bethany, Mountain State Blue Cross Blue Shield and Ohio Valley Septic, with support from the Brooke County Health Department and West Virginia Department of Agriculture.
Bethany Councilman Pat Sutherland noted the first event showcased the wide range of talent found in Bethany.
At one table sat Jim Haizlett, a West Liberty University professor who brought jars of the maple syrup he makes at his farm, and his 15-year-old daughter, Rosalie, who offered caricatures, sketches and watercolor paintings inspired by graduation photos and pictures of individual's pets or homes. Ruth Brown brought assorted vegetables and hanging baskets cultivated at her home on Chapman Addition. Brown owns Ruth's Pets and Plants, a dog breeding and boarding business that grew out of the family business begun by her grandfather, Wilbur Smith, and known as Pikevue Nursery for many years.
Margaret Corbin, a Bethany resident, normally sells antique china and knickknacks at area flea markets and festivals and welcomed the opportunity to sell them close to home.
Author David George, also of Bethany, was selling copies of his book, "Be Unique, Be You and Live!" George said the book was inspired by his experiences coping with learning disabilities.
Local singer Laura Cramblett performed folk music, and the Bethany Woman's Club sold food in front of the Masonic Lodge.
Committee member M.E. Yancosek Gamble, a visiting professor at Bethany, said there are plans for a homemade pie contest at the Aug. 28 market, a scarecrow contest at the Sept. 25 market and several Halloween-inspired activities at the Oct. 30 market.
May Jay Eisenhauer and other town officials marked the market's opening by cutting a red and white checkered ribbon with pruning shears. He said such events will help to bring more people to Bethany.
(Scott can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)