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Oakdale Morning Market Ushers In Homegrown Hit
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Oakdale’s own Sons Farm Fresh was one of several produce vendors kept busy during the inaugural Oakdale Morning Market hosted Saturday, May 6 along North Third Avenue. Teresa Hammond/The Leader

While the weather seemed poised to pose a threat, the power of prayer may just have worked for Oakdale Morning Market Manager, Roxanne Simons, as well as the close to 50 vendors who set up shop for the first Oakdale market of its kind on Saturday, May 6.

“It definitely exceeded our expectations for sure,” Simons said of the packed event, sharing that she herself was nervous about the weather and called on some prayer warriors to ward off the rain. Simply refusing to accept there would be rain for the event opening, by 8 a.m. Saturday morning, the prayers seemed to have worked.

“Nerve-racking at first,” she confessed, as shoppers began trickling in a little past 8 a.m., “but we were totally happy with the numbers, especially with the weather we were fighting a little bit.”

According to Simons, a number of the vendors sold out of product, some within the first hour of opening. A few left to restock and continued to sell out. She further shared vendors were encouraged to stock more the next time to keep their inventory healthy for the three-hour,8 a.m. to 11 a.m., market window.

“We want them to have enough product and maybe be sold out in the last 20 minutes, but this was the first time for everyone,” she said. “We didn’t know what to expect.”

Following months and months of planning, organizing and planning some more, what she, as well as Love Oakdale Director Lisa Kjeldgaard, had hoped for was to have an overall successful opening to the new Saturday morning market. Judging by the vendor and downtown Third Avenue business owner feedback, they did just that.

“That really makes us feel good, because we put in a lot of work,” Simons said, further noting that many people stayed until the afternoon hanging out on Third and grabbing something to eat. Suzey Belen’s restaurant shared with the organizers that it was the busiest Saturday they’ve had in a long time.

As a first of its kind, the Oakdale Morning Market also features an area known as OYE (Oakdale Youth Entrepreneurs) where students offer their wares to market shoppers as well. Art classes for children are also part of the Morning Market.

“The OYE Group was amazing and the art class went so fabulous,” Simons said. “I’m not as involved with that. That was a Lisa thing, because we really wanted it to be family oriented. She really pushed for that and I’m so glad she did.”

Recognizing the success of the first week will likely bring more of a crowd in the weeks which follow, Simons addressed the event times. She explained that the three-hour window of 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. is currently in place to support the Third Avenue businesses and not take opportunity from their regular Saturday traffic.

“We would love to have it be longer, that’s our goal. But we have to consider the downtown businesses that are open on Saturdays,” she said of the road closure required to put on the market.

“I really want the community on that street, the businesses on that street to know, this truly was to hopefully bring hundreds of people to their door,” she said of the Love Oakdale-sponsored event’s mission.

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Saucin’ It Up Fried Chicken maintained a healthy line of customers throughout the duration of the Oakdale Morning Market event on Saturday, May 6. Hundreds were in attendance for the first-time event which will be hosted each Saturday morning through the month of September. Teresa Hammond/The Leader
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Siblings Hunter, 4, and Brooklyn Miller, 2½, were two of the many pint size Morning Market visitors Saturday morning who enjoyed some self-expression in an art class. Teresa Hammond/The Leader