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Farmer’ market to offer crafts, beginning today

Handmade craft items will be sold at the Van Buren Farmers’ Market, beginning today.

Members of the Van Buren City Council voted Monday night to allow the sale of the handmade crafts at the farmers’ market, held from 7 a.m. to noon Wednesdays and Saturdays at the Van Buren Public Library, 1409 Main St.

The 6-0 council vote was met with applause from members of the Farmers Market Growers Association, who had requested the change in the city statute.

“Our vendors are being openly solicited by other farmers’ markets,” said Mitch Carolan, president of the growers association. “We are losing some of our best vendors to other farmers’ markets which allow handmade crafts.”

Carolan said Monday night’s change in Van Buren’s ordinance regulating the farmers’ market hopefully will entice vendors to return to the local market.

“We have some very talented crafters in the area we are not utilizing,” said Carolan, who has been with the Van Buren Farmers’ Market for five years. “Hopefully, we can get them back. This is going to help us become the great market we have the potential to become.”

Carolan said last year’s market had 29 vendors. It has dropped to 18 this year.

Alderman Donna Parker said the council has never had a problem with allowing handmade crafts at the farmers’ market. It was a problem for the downtown merchants, she said.

“It is no longer an issue,” said downtown merchant Barbara Little of Little Bit of Mexico. “The problem before was when the market was held on The Old Town Merchants Association parking lot and the area near the depot.”

Downtown merchants are happy with the crafts at the market which has since moved to the library parking lot, Little said.

Head librarian Danalene Porter said the farmers’ market was a win/win for the library.

“It gives our patrons an opportunity to shop at the farmers’ market,” she said, “and often visitors to the farmers’ market visit the library after they shop.”

At Monday’s meeting, aldermen voted to award a service sidearm to a retiring Van Buren police officer.

Patrol Sgt. Wade Rogers will retire Aug. 1 after 32 years of service. The council agreed to present Rogers with his Glock .40-caliber pistol at a retirement reception at 2 p.m. Aug. 2.

The council also approved the final plat for Phase 3 of Legacy Valley as recommended by the Van Buren Planning Commission.