SOMERSET — As a lot of events do after being held for the first time, the Somerset Open Air Market is making an adjustment to improve the experience of the visitors who come there this weekend to see the vendors that have hand-made items, food, clothing and entertainment.
The biggest change that people will find when they come to the Open Air Market this Saturday is where they can park. At the first Open Air Market that was held on July 1, a lot of people parked along the side of the field where the market is held at the corner of Route 138 and Newhill Avenue. But that created traffic and parking problems on Newhill Avenue, so there is a new plan for parking this weekend when the market will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Instead of parking on Newhill Avenue, when those that want to go to the Open Air Market are driving south on Route 138 from the north end of Somerset, they will be asked to drive about a half of a block past the field where the open air market is and park in the field on the left.
Allison Faunce, who is organizing the Somerset Open Air Market with her husband Paul Richards, said there will be signage related to parking, volunteers directing people where to go and police details. Faunce said there would be five handicapped parking spots on Newhill Avenue.
Faunce said if the field where parking is allowed is filled, people could park in the lot off of Slade's Ferry Avenue. She said there was discussion about allowing people to park in the field where the Open Air Market is held, but said there was some concern about the soil there and whether it would be stable for vehicles if it rained.
Faunce said there is a walkway to cross the street from the parking area to get to the Open Air Market and said there will be a police officer there.
"It's less than a minute walk," she said.
Faunce estimated that 2,000, or more people, attended the last Open Air Market.
"It was a big turnout," she said.
But because of the amount of cars parked along Newhill Avenue, she said it was difficult for cars to go both ways on the two-way road and emergency vehicles did not have access, which she said made it a health hazard in that sense.
Faunce said there will be some new vendors at the second Somerset Open Air Market, which will be held on the first and third Saturdays of the month through October. Some of them will include The Fit Dad, who cooks healthy meals and delivers them, Wyandotte Farms that will be selling produce, the Blend Cafe, which will be leading yoga sessions and selling tea, Smoked Barbecue, which will be selling barbecued food, Smackadoodles, which will be selling cinnamon buns, the Swansea Animal Shelter, the kindness rock project that a Somerset youth is running and Somerset resident Tascha Haas selling flowers to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphona Society. She said entertainment will include jazz music and acoustic guitar entertainment. A lot of the vendors from the first Open Air Market will be there this weekend and there will be kite flying for children, as there was at the last market.
"We have about twice as many vendors this time, so it's going to be a little bit bigger," Faunce said.