Macon Open Air Market will host local artists and designers


Image: Photo provided by Macon Open Air Market

A Milledgeville farm sells their produce at the Macon Open Air Market.

Jayla Moody, Arts & Entertainment Editor

The quarterly Downtown Macon Open Air Market will host local artists, makers, designers and more on Saturday, Oct. 28. Macon residents and students can spend the day at the market from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. or make an evening event out of it from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

“We’re expecting upwards of 5,000 attendees this time around,” said Student Outreach Director Pornchai Chantham.

He’s hoping Mercer students will help out with that.

Local businessmen Brad Evans, Cesare Mammarella, Joe Zawaickii and Ryan Smith started the market in 2016 to help provide a market to the small businesses and product owners in Middle Georgia.

“We don’t have a great artist market downtown anymore, and usually when they are downtown, there’s a small handful of the same vendors over and over,” said Co-owner and current Director of Coordination and Marketing Ryan Smith. “There was no model for growth.”

Smith said the local artists now have a place for them to put their products in front of people.

This year, there will be 91 different vendors, six local food trucks, a full food court area, a merchandise area and an area for pets as well. Local bands will be playing live all day.

Some of the vendors include Smith Family Dairy Farm (goat cheese), Bon Bon Macon (bon bons, cookies and macaroons), Poppy’s Pad (cornhole boards, yard Jenga sets), Ocmulgee Artist Guild (local artists and face painting), Bone Creek Farms (goat’s milk soaps and bath bombs), Z Beans Coffee (coffee import and roaster by a Mercer student), Louisiana Purchase (Cajun Soul Food Truck) and Repicci’s (Gelato and Italian Ice Truck).

“A lot of the musicians went to Mercer or still go to Mercer,” Smith said.

The list of performers include rock and roll band The Bearcats, Indie Rock band Fooligans and jazz artist Skylarr Stanley.

The event staff also tried to get Mercer students involved in the preparation fo the event.

Mercer students in greek organizations are having a t-shirt design competition.

“We wanted students to have the opportunity to be involved in our design, so it’s participatory,” Smith said.

Students will also get a chance to enjoy a door raffle and a costume contest in the spirit of the season.

The entrance fee is $5, but with a student id, students can enter the market for free.

When the market first began, it lasted for four hours of the day.

“As our model grew, the businesses started to grow,” Smith said.

There will also be another market in November. After applying for the Downtown Challenge Macon growth grant, the staff hopes to have six different markets in 2018.