It has a new name and a new location, but the Anniston farmers’ market is set to start summer operation Saturday.
The market, now renamed Downtown Market, Start Fresh in Anniston, will be open every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon, beginning this weekend through Sept. 13 at its new location in the Cheaha Brewing Company parking lot. Jean Ann Oglesby, who was hired as the market’s part-time manager on May 15, said the move should attract more attention to the event, since it is closer to the brewery. The market will also no longer have to compete with people who want to schedule events at Zinn Park, where it was formerly held.
“I’m just so excited; I can’t tell you how much fun this has been,” Oglesby said, “how excited everyone is, how excited the farmers are. The farmers are beside themselves they’re so excited.”
Cheryl Hine, who has sold her produce in Calhoun County since 2005, shared Oglesby’s excitement for the opening.
“I think it would be a wonderful thing,” Hine said. “I think we’ll get more exposure too. Zinn Park, it was nice, but I don’t think the location worked out for any of us, really. I’d like to give it a try and see.”
A change of venue isn’t the only change people can expect. The market will also incorporate numerous events and activities throughout the summer. Cooks from local restaurants will put on demonstrations in an outdoor kitchen, provided by Lowe’s.
The market will also feature health screenings and an area where children can learn about produce and healthy eating habits. It will also feature performances by local bands, with the Gypsy Begonias kicking off the summer market Saturday.
Oglesby has also introduced a steering committee of 15 volunteer farmers who will help with the weekly operation of the market.
Steve Chapman, who is on the committee and the former manager from 2011 to 2013, said the weekly operation of the market should run smoothly under Oglesby and the committee.
“When you just look at the benefits provided by the steering committee, she’s coordinated some really good advertising,” Chapman said. “She’s been a part of what I call a terrific effort to really make the market the event it was years ago.”