The Waco Downtown Farmers Market is starting at its new location this Saturday, in the McLennan County Courthouse parking lot. The market is moving for at least 18 months, while riverfront development takes places at and around the old market location.
Countless hours of work and planning have gone into this move and I have faith that it’s going to be fine. I’m even a little curious to see how this new location might be different and fun. But I can’t help but also feel a little melancholy about having to leave the market’s first home, even temporarily.
That first home with the trees that line the walk and meet overhead like great protective arms. The home by the water, with a simple beauty, somehow decadent and humble at once. That first home with lines marked on the cement, evidence of market growth like pencil ticks along a doorjamb for height.
That first home, where family and community were formed, is always a little hard to leave.
I started volunteering for the market in its first spring, and now, mid-way into its fifth year, I’m on the market board. It has become part of my world in a way that it’s not even a question or a choice anymore. Are you going to market on Saturday? Of course. And I know that I’m not alone in this attachment. I’m sure many of you have seen the market become part of your lives in similar ways.
At market I’ve seen engagements happen, like when Chad Pessarra proposed to Danae Hughes with roses, on one knee. I’ve seen countless babies go from belly to baby-wearing to bounding around market ground with sturdy legs. First friendships have formed between some of our vendors’ kiddos as they play in and around the booths with confidence and ownership because this IS part of their home, their Saturday backyard.
Like the market babies, a number of businesses have grown up in the last five years, such as Dichotomy Coffee and Spirits, which started at the market before becoming a brick and mortar downtown hotspot.
The examples of what has transpired and grown at the Waco Downtown Farmers Market are really too many to name. But the major thread that runs through them all is the people. And, though our address may be changing for 18 months or so, the people aren’t going anywhere. You’re not going anywhere, right?
So I have to believe that we’re going to continue making some of these great memories at 500 Washington Avenue. Then, when the “renovations” are done at our old home by the river, we can move back and pick right up where we left off under those trees that sheltered us since Day One.
Be part of this move. Come with us to the Courthouse parking lot. Bring your families and tell your friends. Because market can happen anywhere, but it won’t be the same without you.
Waco Downtown Farmers Market takes place at 500 Washington Avenue (starting March 18) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.