By Roanna Martin
Where’s the place to be in Morgantown on a Saturday morning at 8:30? At the corner of Spruce and Fayette streets, of course! The Morgantown Farmers’ market runs from 8:30 to noon, and typically starts off long lines of customers streaming in front of the stands. For the earlier part of the summer the market was held at an alternate location while a pavilion was constructed.
On September 22nd, the Morgantown Market Place officially opened for business, and market hours were extended until 1 PM for the Grand Opening. The day kicked off with a ribbon cutting ceremony. There was a great crowd, with the highest customer total ever. Monti the WVU Healthcare mascot was there to cheer on the market and Morgantown Mayor Jim Manilla spoke during the dedication of the building.
According to market manager Lisa Lagana, “The Grand Opening was a huge success thanks to so many supports especially WVU Healthcare for sponsoring the event, the City of Morgantown for letting us use their facility & equipment, the Morgantown Parking Authority for setting up all of the equipment whenever needed, and Main Street Morgantown who helped pull the whole event together.”
It was a busy day under the pavilion, full of delicious flavors and great sounds. There was a cooking demonstration by Marion Ohlinger, chef & owner of the Richwood Grill. He used market goods to create a surprise menu, which included breakfast burritos (breakfast sausage, goat cheese, and eggs), steak, and goat fajitas (goat meat, onions, and peppers). Featured musicians of the day included The Short Brothers who kept customers dancing throughout the morning and One Bullet Barney who kept the energy going with their electric punk blues.
Other featured events from the day included a vendor demonstration of wool spinning, a live bee hive, and a “Green Morning” workshop by the Morgantown Municipal Green team. WVU Healthcare offered free blood pressure screening, free reusable market bags, and a “talk-to-a-nurse” station.
~~~~~In celebration of WVU’s Transportation Week, the WVU Transportation & Parking Authority came to the Market as our non-profit to promote sustainable & healthy ways of traveling. A bicycle rack is provided at the market for customers who choose to use pedal power to get around town.
Although the pavilion is up, the project is not yet technically complete. A culinary station has yet to be installed. As a future dietitian, I’m especially excited about this as a way for exposing customers to new foods. There will be a second opening when the station is complete, with a “Taste of the Town” demo featuring 4 different chefs from Morgantown who will coordinate to use fresh market ingredients to create samples for customers.
Phase 2 of the market project will probably include solar panels, but that is still down the road. The Grand Opening also received some great publicity from the Channel 12 News.
The Morgantown Market is one of my favorite Saturday morning activities here in town, and if you live anywhere in the area, it’s definitely worth checking out!