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Farmers Market opens Saturday

Posted: April 2, 2018 5:12 p.m.
Updated: April 3, 2018 1:00 a.m.
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PLAY Foundation Executive Director Laurey Carpenter (second from left) and Farmers Market Manager Craig Bell (third from left) received a generation donation of $1,000 from Second Look Charities for the Farmers Market.

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The Kershaw County Farmers Market kicks off its 2018 season Saturday in a new, permanent location in downtown Camden this Saturday.

“We are very excited,” Farmers Market Manager Craig Bell said. “We’ve been working on this for a long time and are extremely grateful to all who have helped make it possible.”

Indeed, the Farmers Market, in partnership with the PLAY Foundation, has been working on this project for more than a year.

The Farmers Market originally was located on city property adjacent to Commerce Alley and behind Community Bank in downtown Camden. In 2015 the decision was made to move the market to Historic Camden in order to alleviate parking issues, add more space for vendors and have access to permanent restroom facilities, among other issues. Ultimately, however, Farmers Market management and board felt like it would be in the market’s best interest to own and maintain its own space and in partnered with the PLAY Foundation to try and make that happen.

On Monday, March 5, representatives from the PLAY Foundation, the City of Camden, Kershaw County and state delegation gathered at the site of the future Kershaw County Farmers Market to accept donations from Farm Bureau for $5,000 and the Kershaw County Water and Soil Conservation District for $12,500.

Those donations allowed the Farmers Market to buy that property, which is located at 906 Broad St., Camden.

“This, in effect, completes phase I, which was the purchase of the property,” PLAY Foundation Executive Director Laurey Carpenter said. “Since then, we have received generous donations from First Citizens Bank and from Second Look Ministries.”

Indeed, the $20,000 from First Citizens and $1,000 from Second Chance will go toward the construction of new ADA accessible restrooms on the property, Carpenter said.

She added that fundraising is still very much underway and in fact, all donations to the PLAY Foundation for the Farmers Market are tax deductible. The Farmers Market needs about $50,000 to start construction on the restrooms, which they hope to have finished before the end of the season.

The final phase will be construction of a permanent pavilion structure that will be built on the property that can not only allow vendors to access electricity and have a roofed space, but that can also be used as a rental space for private and/or community functions, Carpenter said. They hope to have the pavilion completed in time for the 2019 season, she said. In addition, the Soil and Water Conservation Commission will help organize and maintain a community garden on the property.

Bell said not only are the Farmers Market and the vendors excited about opening at the new location, but thus far, the feedback from the community he has received has been all positive.

“I think our vendors are excited – we have a great core group of vendors that work with us throughout the season and of course we have great seasonal vendors that come in as well. I think the community is excited to have us back downtown,” he said. “I’ve heard nothing but positive on that. Of course, we hope that we are able to attract people not only to us, but to businesses downtown as well.”

Bell noted that the market has one of the most inexpensive fee schedules to be found anywhere – farmers can rent a space in the market for $10; all other vendors are $15.

For more information or to donate call (864) 934-5858. For more information on the Farmers Market call (803) 729-7146 or go to the website at www.kcfarmersmarket.org.

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