By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
If someone has told you that visiting downtown Clarksburg is for those who need to stop at the Courthouse, conduct banking or legal business, or do a little shopping, they are partially right. However, downtown Clarksburg offers more than that. Yesterday was the grand opening of the City Market – a farmers market right in the center of the downtown area!
The City Market will be open every Wednesday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. through the end of December and is located on the sidewalk of Court Street, adjacent to the Courthouse. In addition, some vendors will be indoors at 204 Court Street. Organizers were expecting to begin the Wednesday markets with approximately a dozen vendors and they hope it will grow.
“We originally had a farmers market in downtown Clarksburg every Saturday, but we didn’t get a lot of Saturday foot traffic in the downtown area, so the market was relocated to the Eastpointe area,” explained Bill Yoke, market president. “That market still continues on Saturdays; this downtown market is just a branch of it and will feature some of the same vendors on Wednesdays. Folks will find fresh produce, locally made honey, South American coffee, farm fresh eggs, and even a meat vendor – along with handcrafted items.”
Yoke added that the Eastpointe market (located in the parking lot near Tractor Supply) will continue through the 15th of October – every Saturday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. – with a larger variety of produce and handcrafted items as well.
“The downtown market will be operating until December, though,” he continued. “Many of the vendors have high tunnels so their produce is typically available through Thanksgiving. After that, it will likely be more craft and gift items that will be oriented more towards Christmas giving.”
Downtown produce vendors will be set up with tents and will be quite visible outdoors on Court Street. Craft vendors’ displays will be located indoors in a building made available by the Greater Clarksburg Convention & Visitors Bureau. Look for the “Explore Clarksburg” signage!
“Produce is coming into season right now so we’re hoping that people in the downtown area will take advantage of this opportunity and that it will grow now that it’s being held mid-week,” Yoke concluded. “We’ll be there rain or shine! Our space is somewhat limited, but any vendors who might like to participate may contact Lynette McColl at 304-623-6211 for more specific information.”
Don’t forget that Fridays are once again ‘entertainment’ days in downtown Clarksburg too! ‘Tunes at Noon’ continues again this summer on the Courthouse Plaza with a variety of musical entertainment during the lunch hour every Friday.
Harrison County Commissioner Ron Watson explained that this is the third year for ‘Tunes at Noon’. He says it has been a good initiative that continues to become more popular.
“It began as a way to bring people downtown and was moved to a Friday activity as a way to kick off the weekend for those who work in the city’s downtown area,” Watson stated. “It keeps growing in popularity, and last year the Progressive Women’s Association got involved and now sell hot dogs and drinks during this noontime feature. It’s a great escape for working people in Clarksburg during their lunch break and it has given the PWA some exposure as well as a revenue source.”
Last year the Clarksburg CVB partnered with the Commission and branched out into another outlet during ‘Tunes at Noon’, and ‘Harrison County’s Got Talent’ came about. This gives exposure to local amateur talent and is open to people throughout the region who wish to compete. Potential contestants send in a one-minute video clip to the Facebook page EXPLORE CLARKSBURG, and submissions are reviewed by a panel of judges. Those making the list of finalists compete for cash prizes. This year’s finalists will compete this Friday at noon on the Courthouse Plaza.
Tara Morrison, a representative with the Clarksburg CVB, said, “We have had contestants from many outlying areas, but this year, our finalists are mostly from Harrison County with a couple from Marion County. We were a little late getting the announcement out and we didn’t have many submissions, but then at the last minute we were flooded with audition tapes and were concerned because it was hard to narrow down the finalists.”
Morrison added, “Judges really had a hard time narrowing them down! But we only have a one-hour window because performances are just outside the judges’ chambers. We’ll have eleven finalists competing this Friday at noon. Our youngest competitors are 10 and 11 years old; we also have a few teens and a few adults who will be performing for the cash prizes ($300 for 1st place; $150 for 2nd place; and $100 for 3rd place).
The Harrison County Commission provides the sound from Dave & Sugar Karaoke for the competition. Morrison says they have an extensive music library and are working with contestants now on their selections.
Ron Watson concluded, “This has become a great venue and has become so popular that it may end up becoming a stand alone event! We hope everyone will come out on Friday to enjoy Harrison County’s Got Talent.”
The Courthouse provides some seating for this event, but if you’re afraid that you might not find a seat, feel free to bring a folding chair – or even an umbrella if you need shade. Come and cheer for your favorite!