Grass Valley’s Thursday Night Market to remain — with changes |

Grass Valley’s Thursday Night Market to remain — with changes

Photo for The Union by John Hart
John Hart | The Union

Despite what rampant rumors might suggest about one of Grass Valley’s signature downtown events, the Thursday Night Market is not going anywhere.

However, the popular summer festivity is poised for a number of changes when it resumes next year, said Julia Jordan, executive director of the Grass Valley Downtown Association (GVDA), which organizes the Thursday Night Market.

“Everybody started to get the idea that we were getting rid of the market. We never said we were getting rid of the market. It is not going away.” Jordan said. “Does it need some changes? Absolutely.”

Some of the changes mulled by a GVDA market committee include adding a stage for entertainment, shortening the event in terms of the time it runs through the summer ­­— it currently lasts 14 weeks — as well as truncating the hours and making the start and end times more consistent, Jordan said.

There is also talk of designating an area for the youth activities, such as for NEO — a youth-oriented sector of the Coalition for a Drug Free Nevada County that promotes drug-free activities, Jordan said.

“We’re just reformatting it. Sometimes you just need to freshen things up a bit,” Jordan said.

Perhaps the biggest change involves coordination of the event.

Ray Diggins, who started and organized the market for 17 years, will not hold the reins next year, both he and Jordan said.

Instead, the market committee is leaning toward having the GVDA screen the merchants and schedule the entertainment, as they do for Victorian Christmas, and putting out a request for proposals for someone to recruit farmers, Jordan said.

One likely emphasis on screening merchants would be to favor local vendors and those that produce hand-made merchandise, Jordan said.

The GVDA is also considering a hiring an event coordinator to manage the market, Jordan said.

Most of these decisions need to be made by the end of November in order to submit paperwork to the city about street closures.

The Thursday Night Market began in 1991 as a Friday night farmers’ market in Nevada City, Diggins said.

Five years later, the market was moved to Grass Valley at the request of the merchants and the downtown association, Diggins said.

It was switched to Thursday nights in 2006, he said, as the market had become so successful at attracting patrons downtown that business owners said the market itself was keeping people from spending money at downtown businesses.

“We always wanted the market to taste good; now they want everybody to have good taste,” Diggins said. “The reason we are backing out is because the town has changed.

“Our original interest in the market was an agriculture point of view. But when it got so far away from agriculture, it seemed to lose something for us … I’m on to bigger and better projects that are back to my agricultural roots.

“The public will keep it alive. We’ve laid down the example of what it is. I have confidence that it will continue on.”

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email or call (530) 477-4236.

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