Residents of Florence and the surrounding area have been busy little bees getting the community garden ready for the summer growing season, but that’s not the only thing they’re preparing for this year.
Beginning in May a community market event will be held in downtown Florence on Tuesday evenings. Residents from Florence and surrounding areas can sell their produce, arts, and crafts in booths off Main St.
Several businesses also plan to be open as well as movies for children at the library, food at the Legion Building, and pick your own produce at the community garden.
Event organizer Bob Gayle hopes the event brings some life back into the town.
“I hope it will get the community together again,” he said. “If people get a sense of community then hopefully it will help people get things going downtown.”
Gayle said he grew up in Florence but went away for college and a career. After 30 years, he returned to retire, but found the community was not like he had left it.
“I was shocked,” he said. “I thought, ‘this can’t be the same place I used to call home.’”
He hopes some of the energy from the event will prove to residents that Florence is a town worth saving and growing.
“It’s my way of giving back some positive energy and hope it’s a driving force,” he said.
So far Gayle has between 25 and 30 people interested in having a booth at the market selling a variety of things. He said anyone is welcome and booth space is free.
“There are many local people who are artisans and most of the time no one knows it,” Gayle said. “This is a great way to let people know who or what they can do and things locally that are available.”
Gayle said the idea came from an elderly man he knows that makes miniature intricately woven baskets from pine needles.
“He had a stroke and is unable to participate, but I thought if there’s one person who does neat things locally, then there has to be more,” Gayle said. “If a bunch of people pull together this could be a big event.”
Other events such as the Harvey House being open, a barber to cut hair, and a possible beer garden.
“Our goal is if a family comes to have somewhere the kids can go and be entertained for an hour, places for mom’s to shop, and something dad’s can do,” Gayle said. “Some fun and relaxation for the whole family where they can have a few hours, which they might have normally spent in front of the TV, to get out and have fun.”
Farmers market to continue near highway
In 2010 Scott Vogelman started the Florence Farmers Market. He said though there will be another market Tuesday nights, the farmers market will continue at the same time and location as years past.
The market will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. beginning May 6 at Moses Shane Memorial Park where U.S. 50 and 77 connect.
“We wanted to stay in our location,” Vogelman said. “We think it helps remind people coming home from work that the market is happening.”
Four vendors have shown interest in the market so far, but Vogelman expects around 10 to 12 vendors to sell once the season gets underway.