Driving a few miles – or even better, walking a few blocks – to shop among and with friends and neighbors feels and does good, locally. Two rural communities held outdoor markets on Saturday – Vinton and DeQuincy.
In Vinton, elementary and high school students who took an entrepreneurial workshop sold clay earrings, baked goods, DIY bracelet kits and dog scarves from a side of a downtown lot, while seasoned retailers and vendors were selling products across.
Isabella Dommert sold cookies and fudge.
“I’ve been baking since I was 1,” said Dommert, a sixth-grader. “Well, I’ve been in the kitchen since that age helping my grandmother. My mom helped me assess everything.
Jessica Heard pushed fitness with a clever design, Christmas packages with the sign “How Much Can You Lift?” She was at the market in the small town of Vinton to promote the new Ward 6 Recreation Center, where memberships are $ 15 per month and $ 10 for seniors.
“We offer yoga classes in addition to fitness equipment,” she said, “but we are looking for more teachers and recruiting for our basketball league.”
Next door was the kind of store only found in rural communities, with women’s felted hats on one shelf, bait and plumbing fixtures on another. Cajun music came from an old-fashioned barbershop. Within a block, a peacock was strutting down the street.
Amanda Stutes, spokesperson for the city, said the small town market of Vinton will be held on a Saturday of each quarter and will be associated with a celebration of the city. The next one is scheduled for April.
The DeQuincy Farmer’s Market was part of the DeQuincy Chamber of Commerce’s holiday celebration, “A Tribute to Our Troops”. The day’s events included a parade, market and fireworks.
This is the third open market / festival of its kind to be held this year at the DeQuincy Railroad Museum. Seventy-five vendors offered everything from blessing pearls to baked bread, duck calls to raffles.
The temperature was in the 70s, but the Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club and Cleco allowed the children to play in the snow.
Kelley Menou is the organizer of the DeQuincy market / festival. She and her friend Lexie Shelton spoke about the concept when Shelton approached Menou to design a logo for his company, Figs and Feathers Acres. Shelton is an engineer. Making and selling jellies and hot sauces is his creative outlet.
“I didn’t immediately budge on the idea,” Menou said. “When I was on maternity leave, I figured out how to get it started.”
Menou said the goal is to create a community. The quality of the products, the large crowd of buyers, keeping the money local, providing a place for artisans and producers to sell their products and hear the latest news in person rather than on social media sites are by-products. .
“I want DeQuncy to prosper,” she said. “We have put down roots here and I want to be able to take my daughters to great local community events, in addition to the amazing Louisiana Railroad Festival held here every year in April.”
The sellers must cultivate or manufacture the majority of the items in their stalls.
“A lot of these vendors don’t have traditional storefronts,” she said. “This is how they sell their products. We have a lot of local talent here.
Cooper Hill Farms brought in mustard and collard greens, kale, sweet potatoes and honey. Cher LaRoque has always loved crafts, but the market gave her the first opportunity she had to sell what she makes. Board and Bread is a husband and wife DeQuincy team. She sells “artisanal and self-rising” breads. He turns beautiful bowls. First Baptist Church sold items to benefit the Whisper of Hope program for teenage girls fleeing their villages to avoid arranged marriages. Daniel Cox typically makes pumpkin rolls during the holidays. He sold one or two, which has nothing to do with the business he was doing in the market.
“I’m doing a little extra to buy the children’s Christmas presents,” he said.
The Mac Box was back at the DeQuincy Market in December after selling macaroons at the October Market.
“We brought 800 in and sold the last one at 11:03 am,” she said.
The market was from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. On Mondays and Fridays, she cooked 1,800 for the Saturday market.
“It’s a baking record,” she said.
“Times have been so tough,” said Jeffra Wise DeViney, president of the Rotary Club. “It’s more than a concept of merchandising. We needed this outlet, a place where families can bring the kids, this departure from the culture of cancellation.