Visitors at this year’s Thursday Night Market in Grass Valley should expect to find a marked increase in the number of local and food-related vendors.
“People wanted it to be more of a hometown event,” said Julia Jordan, executive director of the Grass Valley Downtown Association, which organizes the Thursday Night Market.
Where last year’s markets had approximately 25 percent local vendors, the downtown association is hoping to entice locals to make up 90 percent of this year’s market, Jordan said.
“It is an absolutely drastic change,” Jordan said.
In that transition, many of the informational booths for private and nonprofit organizations will be replaced by an approximate contingent of 60 to 70 percent of the vendors selling food and food-related items, Jordan said.
“It’s just going to be more of a community gathering,” Jordan said. “Our hope is that by adding some programs and catering to local vendors and farmers, people will want to participate and support our local economy.”
The Thursday Night Market began in 1991 and spent its first five years as a Friday night farmers market in Nevada City. It was moved to Grass Valley at the request of the merchants and the downtown association and eventually switched to Thursday nights in 2006 in response to businesses’ complaints that it detracted from brick-and-mortar stores.
A similar sentiment led to shift emphasis toward more food-related vendors this year, Jordan said. The greater exclusion of corporate merchandise is an effort to keep local crafters from being undercut. Other changes include more entertainment, children-friendly activities and two fewer markets this year than before, down to 12 Thursdays between July 11 and Sept. 26, Jordan said.
One of the more prominent changes previously announced was the absence of Ray Diggins, who started and organized the market for 17 years. Instead, the GVDA is managing the event, as it does for the annual Cornish Christmas celebrations. The downtown association is also in search of someone to manage the certified farmers at the market, Jordan said.
“We’re coming into our own,” Jordan said of the GVDA’s management of the market. “After a while, you need some change and need new programs because everybody’s needs are changing.”
To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4236.