International Market to return for second year

For the second year, volunteers are putting together the Central Area International Market & Bazaar. This year's market season will open July 22 on the grounds of the Emerald City Adventists Church, 801 25th Ave. It will take place on Thursdays, from 3 to 7 p.m., through September.

While the market is set to open in a couple of weeks, much still needs to be done. Co-organizer Adrienne Bailey, a longtime Madison Valley resident and community activist, said at least 10 to 15 volunteers are needed to operate the weekly market - to publicize the event, collect fees, help unload farmers' vehicles, set up and take down the booths and clean up.

Right now, about five volunteers are helping to get it off the ground for its scheduled start, with members of an African-American veterans group, Seattle Parks and Recreation, students and other community members signing up to help throughout the summer, Bailey said.

Also, applications are still available for vendors to sell their fresh fruits, vegetables and other food items; arts and crafts; clothing; and other items in any of the nearly 15 booths available throughout the summer.

Booths are available for $15 to $20 each week, and spaces must be reserved at least one week in advance.

At least five farmers are needed for the organizers to gain membership in a farmers association, Bailey said.

The event returns after a successful, shorter, first season, during which Bailey said vendors and patrons encouraged her to continue the market and let it grow to help the neighborhood's economic development.

"Bringing legitimate businesses and activities [into an area] has the tendency to drive out the illicit elements, even though it's for a short period of time," Bailey explained. And "Cherry [Street] needed it more than the other areas [in the Central Area]."

The market will return to the site of its first season, Nova Alternative School, near the church, after the school undergoes its renovation this summer.

The market is "an opportunity for you to get out of the house and see your neighbors, get to know the local artists and farmers - socialize," Bailey said. "I have visions of Morocco - the food, the sounds, all sorts of colors."

According to Central Area resident and co-organizer Robert Stephens Jr., future plans include inviting the nearby Muslim school to sell their items and expanding the market to take up a whole block of 25th Avenue, between East Columbia and Cherry streets.

"We wanted to start with something we could handle [the first few years] and grow from there," he said.

For information about participating in the market as a vendor or volunteer, call 860-1200.

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