CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Photographers, painters, a jeweler, a potter, a weaver and a baker are among the vendors who plan to sell their wares Saturday at the grand opening of the East End Bazaar, the outdoor artisan market at the corner of Ruffner Avenue and Washington Street.While teams of volunteers spent more than 1,300 man hours this summer building the market from the ground up, East End Main Street director Ric Cavender was on site earlier this week, checking on some last-minute details."I'm putting in the rest of the gravel and getting the signage up," Cavender said. "We'll have a monument sign at the corner and two hanging signs on both sides of the stage."The city just came. They donated two benches -- really nice benches. They're on the Washington Street side of the property. And we're cleaning up, getting all the dirt hauled away."
Planning for the market dates back to at least spring 2011, and the project has gone through a few changes since then. The size was cut in half from original estimates of up to two dozen booths, with two anchor booths now, not three.It will be open just Saturdays this year; Sundays are out for now."We're going to build our base, build vendor confidence," Cavender said. "So we're just going with Saturdays."Ned Savage, an Americorps VISTA volunteer working this year with East End Main Street, coordinated the construction team as the market's manager."We might extend to Sundays next year, depending on interest," he said. "We just decided to build momentum and excitement."
Savage also has led the recruitment of vendors and musicians, who will perform each week on the market's stage. For opening day, he's got an all-star lineup.The two double-sized anchor booths -- one at each end of the L-shaped structure -- have been rented by Frutcake, the East End bakery, and Fish Hawk Acres, a farm from Rock Cave in Upshur County.Frutcake plans to set up tables and chairs, Savage said, while Fish Hawk will try to drum up interest in its community supported agriculture (CSA) and community supported kitchen programs. In the CSA, customers order produce in advance and pick it up at the market on Saturdays.Artisans in the other eight booths include some familiar names, Savage said: painters Charly Hamilton and Ian Bode; Mark Wolfe, photos; and Capitol Clay Arts Co. Others are: Kelly Bryant, pastels; Sherry Walker, the Eco-Beader, who makes jewelry from recycled items; Wendy Clark of Wenweave, textiles; Sherri Rhodes of Appalachian Art Gallery, stained glass and photos; and Miranda Walker of Kountry Crow, candles and soaps.Still more vendors have been accepted for later dates. In fact, the idea is to rotate folks in and out, so there'll be something new to see each week."If folks come back next Saturday, they'll find a completely different group, for the most part," Savage said.
Market hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays through the end of October. The market is expected to reopen in April.A brief ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned at 11 a.m. Saturday, with music by Comparsa to follow at 11:15.See more at the bazaar's Facebook page
.Reach Jim Balow at email@example.com or 304-348-5102.