Director of Tourism Chris Richard is bringing people to the Academy Building lawn on Saturday mornings in Fairhaven, but it wasn't always so easy

FAIRHAVEN — Chris Richard is always looking for a way to bring Fairhaven to the forefront.

Whether that be 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 this Saturday, June 16.

“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 is Rockin’ Guac, which was started by a group of Tabor Academy students who make fresh guacamole, and will be at the market every week.

The Director of Tourism points to the group of students as one of the vendors he feels an early connection to, as his latest endeavor in the market coincides with their culinary beginnings.

“They’re just getting their start too, and I’m really happy to have them here,” said Richard.

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 a local facebook page to ask for suggestions. Around this time, the farmers market at Fairhaven High School announced it would not be operating at the Academy buidling 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 dampered 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.”

The Huttleston Marketplace will be held on The Academy Building Lawn on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. beginning June 16 until September 1.