TALENT — A switch by the Talent Evening Market from Fridays to Wednesdays hasn't kept people away, and vendors are generally pleased with the result.
After two years as a Friday evening market, the new Wednesday market kicked off June 2. This week a steady stream of guests enjoyed warm weather, food booths, produce stands, craft vendors and light rock music from a band called Mad World. The parking lot, adjacent to City Hall at 110 E. Main St., was nearly full.
"We decided we'd give it a go and try Wednesdays — when there weren't any other markets," said market volunteer Sharon Anderson. "It's been pretty good. It seems to increase each time. There was bad weather the first couple weeks."
A Friday afternoon market started in Phoenix this year, but Anderson said their organization had decided to make the change before the Phoenix market was announced. She said there is competition from Friday art walks, other events and people going away for the weekend. Getting musicians for Fridays is also a challenge.
"It's nice to have it on Wednesdays," said market shopper Laura Marinelli of Talent. "People are more available."
But for her friend, Sue Rogers, shopping on the new day is less convenient. She said she had to take time off to attend her first market of the year.
"It was fun to have it on Friday nights," said Rogers.
Two years ago organizers launched the market in conjunction with Friday evening entertainment offered by the city's Parks and Recreation Department. The market's all-volunteer staff has now taken over the entire event.
"The city is not involved, but they give us the space for no charge and also let us use the audio equipment and a lot of little things like that to help us out," said Anderson. "Otherwise, we wouldn't be able to have it."
While booth spaces were free the first year, a charge of $10 per week for food and craft vendors and $5 for produce stands is used to pay for musicians and publicity.
Local musician David Miller has created an entertainment schedule that includes a mix of jazz, rock, blues, bluegrass and salsa.
"I wanted to get a variety so it wasn't the same every week," said Miller.
Talent resident Jim Jealous, who attends regularly with his family, said the switch to Wednesdays doesn't affect him.
"It's great, very relaxing," said Jealous. "The food's amazing, especially the strawberry short cake and the Japanese food."
The line was steady at John Soares' Roxy Ann Bakery booth, which offered several types of sandwiches and burritos.
"I didn't see any change in business," said Soares, who has been at the market both previous years.
Birdhouse craftsman Ted Nick of Sams Valley, who started offering his wares at the market two years ago, is also happy with the change.
"So far it's been about the same," said Nick. "Because it is on Wednesdays I can do ... other markets on the weekends."
While business has picked up each week so far, it's still not as good as last year, said Aaron Clanton, who sells a variety of prepared baking mixes.
"It seemed like there were a lot more people mingling around on Fridays last year," said Clanton.
Market hours are 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. every Wednesday through Sept. 28. Information is available at 541-535-9055 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at email@example.com.