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Downtown Market returns Saturday

Oyster Mom returns, along with twenty vendors to the Tallahassee Downtown Market on Saturday
Oyster Mom returns, along with twenty vendors to the Tallahassee Downtown Market on Saturday(WCTV)
Published: Jul. 9, 2020 at 7:10 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -A familiar Tallahassee favorite is returning this weekend.

The Downtown Market will once again take place after COVID concerns it closed for months. But the popular community event is coming back with several changes.

Organizers say all vendors will be spaced at least six feet apart. In order to do that, the number of vendors was capped at about twenty. That's fewer than half of what was signed up for the market in March.

But even with these changes, many vendors are excited to be back at the Chain of Parks.

One of those is 'Oyster Mom' Deborah Keller. She started her oyster business about five years ago after starting the first oyster aquaculture class at TCC Wakulla Environmental Institute.

Since then, she's been selling oysters are markets across Tallahassee.

"Oyster Mom has been at every farmer's market possible, as much as I can," Keller said. "It's like getting back to see your family or something, there's a lot of regular customers that come every Saturday morning."

For the last seventeen weeks, the Downtown Market has been cancelled. That is, until this weekend.

"The market will look quite different, but it will look similar to the way the market has been looking at Kerry Forest Parkway," said Allen Thompson. Thompson is with the Tallahassee Downtown Improvement Authority, and manages the Downtown Market.

Market organizers have placed blue tape lines along the sidewalk to give people an idea of the six foot social distance guidelines. They will also be posting signs with CDC safety protocols.

Thompson says these changes are similar measures that have been put in place at other markets in the area. He added, bringing back the market safely is helping to bring back a valuable community resource.

“There are more residents in our community downtown, and the nearest grocery stores from a lot of these residents are over a mile and a half away, and really not very accessible or walk-able,” Thompson said.

For Oyster Mom Deborah Keller, it's about more than a business. It's about community.

“Having a place that’s outside, that’s safe, where people can congregate, where people can retain that community feeling, is really essential. Maybe moreso than it was before,” Keller said. “Because we are so isolated, and being able to come out to a farmer’s market and see local people with their local wears, to be able to walk around with your dog and just be a part of this community is so incredibly valuable.”

The market will be open 9:00am until 2:00pm. There will be live music, along with produce and arts vendors. Organizers plan to be back every weekend the rest of the season.

Copyright 2020 WCTV. All rights reserved.

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