Christmas shoppers have an opportunity to support the local economy during the Olde Beaufort Farmers’ Market Holiday Market.
The market is from 4:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21 at Courthouse Square in Beaufort.
Throughout the market’s season, vendors set up under the live oak trees at the county courthouse to sell their goods and, according to market Manager Cindy Bunch, this year’s market season has been successful.
“Thanks to a dedicated group of vendors, a hard-working Board of Directors, a faithful group of volunteers, and an eager group of local shoppers, as well as guests from out of town, who have consistently shown up to support our local folks who offer their products each Saturday morning, this season was the most profitable ever,” Ms. Bunch said in an email interview. “Sales overall have been significantly stronger than last year’s, and our vendor family has grown too. The weather co-operated and the market became the ‘go to’ activity for many on Saturday mornings.”
The holiday market will look similar to the Saturday markets. There will be about 75 vendors gathered on the courthouse grounds for the evening event.
They will be joined by several community organizations and business sponsors that have participated in the market during the regular season, along with Santa and Mrs. Claus in the gazebo from 5 p.m. until closing.
Several local musicians will provide entertainment throughout the night. Frank’s Franks will be on site, as well, serving hot dogs. There will also be a soup bar provided by Turner Street Market, serving beef and barley, garden vegetable and clam chowder in the pop-up café in the center of the market.
According to Ms. Bunch, 93 tents will fill the courthouse grounds with vendors selling a mixture of holiday goods, as well as the products found all season long.
There will fresh, locally grown cool weather vegetables and fruits, homemade baked goods, including desserts, breads and buns, and ready to eat prepared foods, cheeses, fresh farm-raised meats, eggs and fresh locally grown oysters.
“All these food offerings will be fresh and just in time for shoppers’ holiday tables and menus,” Ms. Bunch said. “The artisans will have abundant, diverse, and beautiful art and craftwork including jewelry, paintings, yard art, pottery, photography, soaps, candles, furniture, and other items too numerous to mention for the shopper who is looking for unique Christmas gifts and the joy of shopping local.
“Everything in the market is handmade, homemade, and homegrown by local vendor citizens who are supported by our community.”
Shoppers will be able to browse under twinkling lights with decorations filling vendors’ booths to complete the look of the holiday market.
“Christmas music by local musicians drifting through the air under the sheltering old live oaks on the courthouse grounds helps to create a scene that couldn’t be more special and the presence of Santa & Mrs. Claus, who will make their entrance about 5, will bring their own special joy and elicit the kid in everyone,” Ms. Bunch said.
There will be free gift wrapping for all who make purchases.
Ms. Bunch said there are several reasons the holiday market is special.
“The Olde Beaufort Farmers’ Market honors the presence of a farmers’ market on the courthouse grounds since early in the town’s history and brings to mind a simpler time and lifestyle where community was important,” she said.
The market also provides a unique shopping experience.
“At this time of the year, when folks are out shopping and excited about finding special gifts for family and friends, our market provides a shopping experience very different from that of a mall or a large commercial business,” the manager said. “The products our vendors offer are unique, fresh, beautiful and all raised on the farm, homemade in the kitchens, caught from local waters, or created in the studios of local folks.
“Ultimately this market offers a sense of community sharing, blending, appreciation, and support that make it very different and special,” she continued.
Shopping at the Olde Beaufort Farmers’ Market supports local farmers and businesses, something Ms. Bunch said is important for the community.
“When our citizens choose to shop local they become a part of a cycle that is good for our community, our country, and our planet,” she said. “Shopping local ensures that money spent stays within the community, supporting local small businesses and individuals who rely on the market for their family income.”
Ms. Bunch also said tax dollars raised by shopping local are returned to the county and state to support programs that benefit the public.
“Folks who choose to shop local at our farmers’ market are an important part of our local and state economy, contributing to the well-being of all,” she said. “When folks buy their food … they know their food source, they develop relationships with the vendors from whom they purchase, and they learn how the food was raised, produced, and made. The freshness and quality of the food is unsurpassed as vendors are fastidious with their practices and methods, meeting all state and local requirements and certifications. Shopping local gives buyers’ peace of mind that the food is safe and delicious.”
Ms. Bunch said shopping at the market is also good for the planet, as the market is eliminating the use of plastic as much as possible and encouraging shoppers to bring their own reusable shopping bags.
“This practice along with the vendors’ aim to reduce the use of plastic in their packaging helps to eliminate over-packaged products that are so prevalent in commercial stores,” she said. “Being coastal residents we recognize the impact plastic has on our environment and our waters and we aim to do our part to clean it up and to help keep it clean.”