Big Sandy Farmers Market Returns
July 19, 2023
The Big Sandy Farmers Market kicked off its year last Thursday afternoon, attracting a substantial crowd despite threat of thunderstorms at the start. The weather scared several venders away that afternoon, but several stayed the course for the afternoon. The market is entering its second year with some improvements over last summer that should be a treat to locals.
Donita Darlington and Paula Amsbaugh worked together to organize the market since its inception. I spoke with Donita at her booth, where she was selling a wide assortment of freeze dried candies, including freeze dried ice cream on cones that were more than a little enticing. She remarked on the success of the market last year. "Last year was really pretty good. I think every week we continued to grow and get more and more vendors and had more traffic all the time. Last year, we had a lot of positive feedback, both during the market and then afterwards, people were so appreciative. Paula and I had taken the initiative to do this, everyone had thought that it was a good idea, but no one had just actually put it together before. We really feel like we have a lot of talented people in this area that make a lot of things: canned goods, crafts, quilting, and other things. This is one more venue where you can have an opportunity to sell your stuff. We have the Christmas Stroll in December. But we don't have a lot of opportunities if you make handmade things to sell those. I think the Farmer's Market provides a good opportunity for that."
Donita quickly turned the conversation to this year's market and the exciting things in store for locals who attend. "This year we have a food truck. They're out there parked on the gravel lane. Parker's Barbecue from Havre. They typically offer barbecue brisket, pork, and several different side dishes. I've been at the restaurant several times and their food is fabulous."
"We decided to do it on the same night that the Hutterite colony comes because they have a long standing history of coming here on Thursday night. Last year, we did Tuesday night, but we had quite a few requests to combine it with Thursday night. So people who live a long ways
out didn't need to come to town Tuesday and Thursday. So this is kind of experiment. We'll see how it goes."
"The market will be running through the end of September. That's how long we got our insurance binder for. We figured once we get into October, it might be beautiful and we might have snow on the ground. So we could extend it if we if we really wanted to when it gets to that point. But for now, we just set it up through the end of September every Thursday."
"Last year, we had live music and that was that was a fun thing for entertainment. I think one of those guys is coming again tonight."
I spoke with Lorna Barnes, who had a booth at the market. She commented on the weather and its impact on the afternoon: "It was really raining pretty good. I noticed when everybody started packing up and was like, 'Y'all are leaving me.'"
Donita explained that the market had 10 vendors before the storm passed through, though many packed up shop in the face of the storm. "They didn't want to put their stuff out in the rain. We just figured that in Big Sandy that we'd probably only get 10 or 20 drops and it would be over. So that's kind of what happened. It rained hard for a few minutes. But then if it stays like this, that'll be perfect."
Potential vendors can reach out to Donita at (406) 270-4716 or Paula at (406) 390-1489 for more information.