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Market madness begins Saturday in Hays





Crafts and fresh produce will be on display Saturday at 10th and Main as the Downtown Hays Market kicks off its season.

Although approximately 10 vendors will begin the season, the number is expected to grow until the market concludes in October. The opportunity enables participants to showcase their wares.

"It's a perfect business incubator for small business here in our community," said Megan Colson, executive director for the Downtown Hays Development Corp. "So many of our vendors from last year, their businesses have soared because of it."

Despite the drought's effect on crops, many vendors from last year are returning as new ones sign up. Anyone interested in becoming a vendor can register for $25.

The market days, which are Saturdays from 7:30 to 11 a.m. and Wednesdays from 5 to 7 p.m., offer a community experience. Families can attend together, and there will be live music.

"It's going to create a really unique experience downtown where people can come enjoy the market, and then continue to shop downtown and grab a meal," Colson said. "It's another way to show the charm of our community."

Allen Schmidt, owner of Resurrection Vineyard and Farm, said he will set up shop at the market for the first time. The vendor plans to sell cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, watermelons and pumpkins throughout the summer.

Schmidt is participating because he wants to support the downtown area and promote his business.

"That provides not only a way for us to advertise, but also a way for us to market," he said.

The farm uses an efficient drip watering system to conserve water during the drought. Schmidt draws water from a private well to minimize use.

Another farmers market will be this summer. Orscheln's Fresh Produce Market will be at 2900 Broadway from June 21 until the fall, and it will be Saturdays from 8 to 11 a.m. and Wednesdays from 5 to 7 p.m.