As you drive south on Orange Avenue and approach the cross streets of Holden on the west and Gatlin on the east, you enter the two-square mile City of Edgewood, population 2,670. Most drivers don’t even notice that they’ve passed through an area where the roots go back to 1881, and which officially became a town on April 24, 1924 and then a city in 1973.
On a recent Thursday evening I visited the Edgewood Farmer’s Market, a weekly event that takes place from 5pm to 8pm in a park next to the City Hall. Mayor Ray Bagshaw and his wife Bonnie were kind enough to sit down with me and talk about the history and planned future of the Edgewood Farmer’s Market.
The driving force behind Bagshaw’s three terms as Mayor has been “To leave this place a better place than we found it for future generations.” That began with converting a dirt lot next door to City Hall into a masterfully landscaped park that Ray and Bonnie provided a great deal of labor and equipment usage for, in order to dress up the area bordering Orange Avenue.
Then, three years ago, the residents and City Council told the Mayor they would like to have a farmer’s market. That matched up perfectly with another belief of the Mayor’s, and something he had learned when he first took office; no town or city is ever successful without a place for the community to gather. A farmer’s market with food and entertainment for the community would provide a natural gathering place for residents of the City of Edgewood and the landscaped park next to City Hall would be the perfect spot to hold it.
Three years ago this past February, the Edgewood Farmer’s Market came into being. That first market consisted of eight vendors. Over the past three years the market has grown and expanded. The Thursday night I attended there were about nineteen vendors, not including three food trucks. One of the food trucks had to set up in the City Hall parking lot because there was not enough room in the park, which was just named the “Raymond A. Bagshaw Park” a couple of months ago.
Scores of residents park their cars and walk through the path that winds between the vendor booths. There are the typical products of a farmer’s market; fresh produce, kettle corn, homemade bread, baked goods and food items. There are other vendors selling jewelry, clothing, plants, bath and body products, handmade candles, incense and aromatherapy sprays. There are also a few informational booths set up on various subjects. Many attending the Edgewood Farmer’s Market grab a seat to sit and talk with their neighbors and friends as they enjoy the atmosphere of community that the Mayor sees the market accomplishing.
Live entertainment is an always welcome addition and Edgewood Farmer’s Market even has a small stage for bands and performers to show off their talent each week. Mayor Bagshaw states they also try to have one or two special events each month. Upcoming special events at the Edgewood Farmer’s Market include a Dixieland Jazz Band with some local students from Cornerstone Charter Academy on April 30th and a Classic Car Show on May 14th.
Mayor Bagshaw sees the need for the Edgewood Farmer’s Market to expand in the near future. On the Thursday night I attended the park was filled with vendor booths and food trucks, with not much room left for more vendors or attendees, so it seems inevitable that the market will soon outgrow it’s current location. When I asked him what they would do or where they would go to have a larger market he said, with a twinkle in his eye, “We have some ideas in mind.”
The Edgewood Farmer’s Market is held every Thursday evening from 5 pm to 8 pm next to the Edgewood City Hall at 405 Larue Avenue.
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