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Customers will be able to buy fresh produce and handmade crafts this Sunday as the Chattanooga Market opens for the season, but they will not be able to hang around, drink a beer and listen to live music as in the past, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The city's largest open air public market at First Horizon Pavilion on Reggie White Boulevard, the Chattanooga Market will open with fewer vendors than normal and the emphasis will be on social distancing, safety and being intentional about getting in and getting out, organizers say.

Operator Chris Thomas said all of the Chattanooga Public Markets, which include the Collegedale and Chattanooga markets, will be less about the fun or entertainment aspects of the weekly events and more focused on essentials.

"We hope that doesn't last forever, as we hope to reintroduce some of the fun and get it back to where we want it soon, but for now, we are very focused on following the (federal) and state guidelines and making sure everyone is safe."

The Collegedale Market opened May 13. Thomas said it has been a big success, with revenues about double what was projected, "and everyone has been lovely about understanding and following the guidelines."

Thomas had said prior to the Collegedale opening that his staff would be using that market as a testing ground for the larger Chattanooga Market.

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Vendors for May 24

Alchemy Of Sol Soap Emporium

Alessandro’s Italian Artisan Bakery

Angel Skin

Apison Creek Coffee Roasters

Bitler Bistro Take-and-Bake

Bluff View Bakery

Burlaep Apparel

Chattanooga Beard Company

Choo-Choo Kettle Corn

Connie Roberts Fine Art

Connie’s Creations

Creative Metal Adornments

Crumbleberry

Daylilles

Edie Harlin Designs

Emily Yellow

FarmToMed

Federal Bake Shop

Fitzgerald Fruit Farms

Flying Horseshoe Farm

Frik and Frak Foods

Full Circle Candles

Glass Cannon

Going Green Lanterns

Gorgeous Chaos Designs

Halo Dips

Hazelrig Orchards

Herr Flowers

Honest Harvest Pasta

Lalos Sauce

Lily Pond Lapidary

Lily Smith Studio

Little Tree Labs

Lost Art Stationery

Macramé by B.Laurent

Magenta Glassworks

Marshall and Rose

Melon Patch Farms

Moccasin Bend Soap Co.

Molly’s Sweet Shop

Myers Farm Beef

Nisha’s Flavor of India

Ocoee Creamery

Pa and Flowers

Pie R Square

Polly Fae

Raggedy Quilts

Ramble On Design

Red Clay Farm

Rising Dawn Boutique

Rising Fawn Nursery

Robert Emery Chocolate

Sacred Harvest Co.

Sausage World

Sky Dog

Sowing Seeds Farm

Suga’s Enterprises

Sugar Shoppe

The Cupcake Club

The Kettlecorn Man

The Well Turned Pen

TKell Knives

TTU Tomatoes

Vs Outdoor Snaps

White city produce & greenhouses

 

 

With thousands of vendors approved to sell at the Chattanooga Market, the pavilion has enough space for 240 vendors, he said. In order to follow the recommended guidelines, the market will open with 65 vendors with the majority of those selling produce and handmade body essentials such as soaps and lotions.

Between one and two dozen arts and crafts vendors will be on hand, as well, and the hope is to rotate some of those in the coming weeks.

"Not every vendor is ready to come out yet," Thomas said. "Some are older and fit the at-risk profile for the virus, but as they are ready, we hope to add them and to add more as the restrictions are lifted."

Thomas said, "People seem to appreciate being able to talk to the guy who grew and picked the produce, and they feel confident it will be there next week and the next."

Missing on Sunday and for the foreseeable future will onsite dining, live music, food trucks, sampling and vendors selling things like craft beer and coffee. Also missing will be the themed days and festivals found at prior markets.

Hours for the market will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. instead of the usual 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Social distancing will be observed and pets and families (limit two people) will not be allowed as the market seeks to limit the number of people inside the pavilion at one time. Parking will also be limited.

Vendors will be wearing masks and gloves, and patrons are asked to wear masks as well. Cashless options such as Paypal and Venmo are encouraged.

Thomas said that safety is the priority, and that many of the guidelines and policies are constantly being analyzed.

"Even the reusable bags that we have encouraged for so long are discouraged right now. Everything has to be rethought."

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

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