FAIRHAVEN — Chris Richard is always looking for a way to bring Fairhaven to the forefront.
Whether that's dressing up in era-appropriate garb while hosting historical walking tours or throwing a few “arghs” into his vernacular at “Privates and Privateers,” his focus is set on highlighting history, and the town in which he resides.
With his latest brainchild, Richard brings farmers, artisans, and craftsmen together for the Huttleston Marketplace, the first of which is happening Saturday.
“I’m really happy with the results overall,” said Richard of the line-up of vendors who have signed on.
Not all vendors will set up shop during every date, but Richard said that roughly 30 of the 48 total vendors will be there opening day.
Richard is particularly excited about Rockin’ Guac, which was started by a group of Tabor Academy students who make fresh guacamole, and will be at the market every week.
Saturday activity in Fairhaven is something Richard has been searching for actively since he took over as the director of tourism.
The original idea was to open the Old Stone School House on Saturdays, but Richard discovered that the idea didn't yield the crowds he had hoped for.
“I wasn’t getting very many visitors over there,” said Richard.
So he went back to the drawing board.
After deciding he wouldn’t open the schoolhouse on Saturdays, Richard took to Facebook to ask for suggestions. Around this time, the farmers market at Fairhaven High School announced it would not be operating at the Academy building lawn moving forward.
What Richard had then was a valuable space at the Academy building lawn, and an understanding of what people in town were interested in: a place to browse arts, crafts, antiques, and collectibles.
Armed with only a small list of vendors who participated in the Office of Tourism organized Harvest Fun Day and a knowledge of local artisans, Richard began organizing.
“I’m building this from scratch,” said Richard.
The undertaking hasn’t dampened his excitement about the project though, as Richard sees a real opportunity to help small businesses.
“Many of them can’t afford a storefront,” said Richard of the “micro businesses” that make up the majority of the vendor line-up.
He believes those business owners are beginning to see the opportunity as well.
“They’re signing on because they’re excited about what’s happening,” said Richard. “I think my enthusiasm has been spreading.”