First Saturday … it’s all about the community connection!

Published 11:36 am Friday, July 1, 2011

It’s all about the community connection.

Farmer’s market in downtown Bainbridge began three years ago on the square. Beginning in April and ending in November, it originally planned to sell seasonal fruit and vegetables to local folks from local farmers, while the second year was more about home grown and homemade.

It’s been three years now and has evolved into “First Saturday” with artisans and farmers alike, selling jewelry, handmade soap and handmade clothing, local jellies and jams along with vegetables that are in season at the time.

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Because it is more of a community service, it was decided from the beginning not to charge or reserve spaces within the park but make it first come, first served. The only requirement for vendors is to fill out a contact form with information so that we may keep track of them. This way the early bird always gets the best place … under the shade trees of beautiful Willis Park.  This community connection makes it easier for the vendors to maintain lower prices and a larger variety of goods.

A first-time participant this year is Tanya Brouillet. Her work is so unique and beautiful I bought an amulet necklace and I know that she sold several other pieces that day. She is not originally from Bainbridge but has been here for 25 years coming from the Chicago area.

Her husband was recruited by a local company and has been working here ever since. Leaving two grown children and grandchildren they brought youngest son with them to Bainbridge, he has since married and has a family of his own. With such a life-changing event they felt as though they were lead to Bainbridge by the Lord and they haven’t looked back since.

Ms. Tanya has always been a crafter making and selling some of her creations at Mule Day but found her real passion was beading when they visited City of Havana for a festival there. She joined a beading club in Tallahassee to learn more and has been actively beading for 10 years.

The one time she sold any of her work was at a garage sale that she held at her home where people were looking more for clothing and not jewelry. After her first experience at “First Market” in May participants from the River Writer’s and Southern Artist Co-op at the Firehouse Gallery took one look at her work and she was invited to display her unique creations at the Southern Artist Gift Shop located on Water Street.

Since taking her works of art to the Gift Shop she has been very successful in selling several items, one in particular was a bead work painting of Jesus, and it took her several hours and more than 20,000 beads to create. She works on her beading projects everyday for about two to three hours, that is except on Saturday and Sunday, when she spends time with her husband and family.

Ms. Tanya feels very blessed to have been “called” to Bainbridge with her husband, Randy, and feels a strong spiritual presence in our town.

Our “First Saturday” may not be as well attended as other events put on by the City of Bainbridge, but it is another great opportunity for the community to come together and share common interests and camaraderie. Making that community connection … so the next “First Saturday” you are looking for that special something for a special someone … the market may have just what you are looking for and if not you can always visit Isaac’s Bakery or The Bean for a cup of coffee and a treat to cap off your visit to downtown Bainbridge.

We are so blessed to have such a beautiful spot in the middle of town like Willis Park, gazebo, trees and flower plants. After all, downtown is the “heart” of Bainbridge let’s keep it thriving and healthy.

Dit Albritton

Bainbridge Main Street Manager