Fernandina Beach has always been home to a fabulous farmers market, and it began in 2002. When the previous owner surprised the community, and the vendors, by relocating the market to property at the Amelia Island Plantation, on the south end of the Island on Labor Day Weekend 2012, the very next Saturday it re-opened as the Fernandina Beach Market Place.
Held close to the hearts of local Chiropractors Joe and Elizabeth Lee was the dream of a bustling outdoor market, full of carefully selected fresh-from-the-farm products, and handmade artisan foods, complimented by booths full of fine arts and crafts, and they were thrilled to accept the City Manager’s suggestion to occupy the abandoned street with their new market. They now hold the franchise agreement with the City of Fernandina Beach.
With experience in entertainment management, party planning, and coordinating large home and patio shows nationwide, Judie Mackie was an obvious choice for the Lees when it came to finding a reliable organizer who was well qualified to manage the day-to-day operations of the farmers market, and she has been on-board since their debut as an independent contractor.
Since its transition to the Market Place, four years ago, the new farmers market has invited back the original vendors and transformed the farmers market into a neighborhood favorite. Local musicians are invited to showcase their talents, Nassau County non-profits are encouraged to set up a booth for free to share their mission with our community, and even traditional brick and mortar businesses in Fernandina Beach are welcome to attend a Saturday morning for a free “meet and greet” with the public. And yes, your well-behaved and leashed pets are once again welcome to join you at the market.
Even though there is great variety among the vendors and exhibitors within the market, they have easily established wonderful friendships with each other, and with the customers, friends, and supporters of the Market Place. In just four hours a week, these small business owners embrace the idea of getting to know the people who live, work, visit, and play in historic Fernandina Beach.
On Saturday, September 10, 2016, Joe and Elizabeth Lee, and Manager Judie Mackie, are inviting you to join them downtown so you can share in their merriment as they celebrate their 4th Anniversary as the Fernandina Beach Market Place.
This week you will find nearly 40 vendor’s tents lining North Seventh Street, from Alachua to Centre, and they are all eager to welcome you to the Market Place farmers market. In addition, there will be another 30 arts and crafts booths for you to peruse at the adjacent Fernandina Beach Arts Market.
Music is being provided for this special event by the talented Alain LeLait, the “Booth with a Cause” will be the Center for Lifelong Learning, and the featured brick and mortar is ERA Fernandina Beach Realty.
Both markets are open rain or shine, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., the farmers market is open every Saturday, and the Arts Market is open on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month.