Farmers Market Heading Indoors

WINNSBORO – As the weather has turned bitter in recent days, the Fairfield County farmers market is heading indoors for the rest of the winter. Following a request by Terry Vickers, Chairwoman of the Fairfield County Chamber of Commerce, Town Council Tuesday night approved the use of the first floor of the Town Clock for the market, which Vickers said vendors would use through the month of March.

Vickers said the weather kept the market closed last Saturday, and the Chamber and the market committee were wary of losing vendors and customers.

“Once you stop having something people are used to having, it’s hard to draw them back in,” Vickers said.

Ernest Manning, the market’s manager, said the market has drawn a weekly average of 46 customers to its outdoor venue in the vacant lot in the 100 block of N. Congress Street, next door to the NAPA auto parts store, with eight to 12 vendors setting up shop each week. Manning said the committee is in the process of recruiting more vendors, including artisans and bakers, and there are plans for music and children’s programs in the future.

“We see the market as a meeting place,” Manning said, “a community event.”

Councilman Clyde Sanders, however, said he was concerned with liability for the Town, but John Fantry, an attorney for the Town, said liability would be handled for the market as it would for any other event held on Town property – that it would be the responsibility of the market. Vickers assured Sanders that the liability insurance currently held by the market for its location on Congress Street could easily be transferred to the Town Clock. Vickers added that she, Manning and Mack Russell, the committee’s chairman, would be responsible for clean-up after each Saturday’s market.

“Make sure they take care of it,” Sanders said after the 3-0 voice vote. “We just spent $300,000 on that place.”

Council also passed first reading of an ordinance transferring the property at the old Mt. Zion Institute school to the Friends of Mt. Zion Institute (FOMZI) for $5 and considerations (see the Dec. 27 edition of The Voice). A second reading of an ordinance to lease a portion of the water tank on Cook Road to the County for $5 a year also passed Tuesday night. The County is seeking to place a radio antenna on the tank to boost their emergency services signal.