YOUTH DAYS AT THE MAR­KET

Show­cas­ing kids' tal­ents

The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - Front Page -

May 2 launches the be­gin­ning of the Hot Springs Farm­ers & Ar­ti­sans Mar­ket's main sea­son and, the last Satur­day of each month, young mem­bers of the com­mu­nity can also pro­vide their crafts and prod­ucts for sale.

The youth mar­ket al­lows kids aged 8-18 to let their cre­ativ­ity and en­tre­pre­neur skills loose, all while earn­ing a bit of cash. Elaine Ne­smith, a mem­ber of the Farm­ers Mar­ket Board, said youth days are the last Satur­day of each month of the main sea­son from May to Oc­to­ber, and also in­clude mu­sic per­for­mances, sto­ry­telling and other kid-cen­tered ac­tiv­i­ties. Last year the mar­ket hosted close to 20 youth ven­dors and Ne­smith hopes to see that num­ber grow.

Clay Tay­lor, 15, and Is­abell Tay­lor, 13, joined the youth por­tion of the mar­ket last year when it first be­gan. Is­abell sews re­cy­cled burlap and fab­ric bags, and Clay creates cop­per wire earrings.

“I have a lot of tools,” Clay said. “I learned from a friend in New Or­leans who makes and sells th­ese.”

Grace and Anna Cole, both 14, also joined the mar­ket last year. Grace sells origami earrings and Anna makes beaded bracelets. The four teenagers agree the ex­pe­ri­ence has been fun and they all in­tend to come back for the 2015 sea­son, this time with more knowl­edge on what to ex­pect.

Is­abell said the first booth she sat up was a lit­tle messy and clut­tered be­cause she took all the prod­ucts she could think of. Yet, her se­cond and third booths be­came more stream­lined over the sea­son.

Anna said this year she thought they would all do much bet­ter.

“We've fig­ured out what sells best and what peo­ple like to buy, and what kind of com­pe­ti­tion there is,” Anna said. “I know what bet­ter to sell this year, or how to sell it.”

Aside from the Tay­lors' and Coles' crafts, past youth mar­ket ven­dors have brought pro­duce, baked goods, flow­ers, herbs, gar­den art and fresh lemon­ade. Ryan John­ston, pres­i­dent of the Farm­ers Mar­ket Board, said his 8-year-old son creates fairy houses for the up­com­ing sea­son and made jam and jelly from berries that other ven­dors sold at the mar­ket last year. John­ston be­came in­volved with the mar­ket af­ter first vol­un­teer­ing and work­ing his way onto the board. He said the youth mar­ket was a way to bring in the next gen­er­a­tion of ven­dors.

“It's been a great fam­ily ac­tiv­ity for our fam­ily,” John­ston said.

Ne­smith said the youth mar­ket be­gan when Donna Dun­na­hoe with the Fine Arts Cen­ter wanted to ex­plore aim­ing a farm­ers mar­ket to kids. From other en­tre­pre­neur­ial ac­tiv­i­ties with youth, Ne­smith could see the con­nec­tion im­me­di­ately and be­gan re­search­ing across the coun­try to see what oth­ers were do­ing for youth mar­kets.

“There's not a lot of them out there,” she said. “Some of them have stopped what they were do­ing be­cause of sen­si­tiv­ity among the adult ven­dors.”

Luck­ily, Ne­smith said that hasn't been the is­sue in Hot Springs be­tween the adult and youth ven­dors.

“They're great with the kids be­ing there,” she added.

More in­for­ma­tion and ven­dor ap­pli­ca­tions can be found at www.hot­springs­farm­ers­mar­ket.com.

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