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Monmouth Market Set For Debut

MONMOUTH -- The first edition of the Monmouth Farm and Craft Market on July 1 didn't draw quite the crowds manager Mel Finegan had hoped for.

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Loismae Howard of Dallas was one of the vendors who participated in the Monmouth Farm and Craft Market’s “trial run” on July 1. The market is open Wednesdays.

MONMOUTH -- The first edition of the Monmouth Farm and Craft Market on July 1 didn't draw quite the crowds manager Mel Finegan had hoped for.

Only four vendors were able to be on hand that day, including Finegan himself. About three hours after opening, just a handful of people had trickled into the old Monmouth Fire Station off Warren Street to check out the vegetables and crafts being sold inside.

"It's been kind of slow," said Joyce Finegan, Mel's wife.

Still, Finegan said he had anticipated the day as a "trial run" because of the limited advertising done up to that point, and the fact that some committed vendors were still waiting for produce to ripen.

With the markets set to coincide on Wednesdays with the city's Music in the Park Series, beginning today (July 8), business should pick up, Finegan said.

"When (the concerts) start, that will draw more people," Finegan said.

Monmouth officials are allowing use of the old fire station property along North Warren Street for the market, which was encouraged by Finegan and spurred after a city online poll revealed residents desired a local farmers market.

Vendors -- local and regional -- will pay $10 for a slot inside the fire station or out in front of the parking lot. Finegan also has permission to use the adjacent parking lot to the south, owned by Tom Kleinke of Salem, if needed.

Signs for the market on the building exterior, and, possibly along businesses off Highway 99W, will also be forthcoming, Finegan said.

The plan is for the market to stay open weekly until December. Vendors will sell produce, flowers, dairy products, home crafts and other items, changing their wares to reflect the season, Finegan said.

"We plan to sell Christmas trees during the holidays and market Christmas crafts," he said.

The vendors that showed up last week lamented the slow day, but were optimistic that the weekly event will grow throughout the summer.

Loismae Howard of Dallas sells handspun yarn, recycled denim tote bags, CDs from the bluegrass duo she belongs to and does private piano lessons. Howard, who also peddles her wares at a farmers market in Dallas, said she decided to give the Monmouth market a shot after learning of its opening.

"I think it's going to be a good thing," she said. "I think dovetailing it with Music in the Park will make it an all-around community activity."

The Monmouth Farm and Craft Market is open from 2 to 8 p.m. in front of, and inside of, the old Monmouth Fire Station at 152 N. Warren St., directly across from Main Street Park. For more information, call Mel at 503-787-3561.

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