On a beautiful spring morning the signs were hung, the booths were full, and bushels of plants and baked goods were ready for business. All that was needed was the people.
And they came, lots of them. "By 1 in the afternoon I had stopped counting," says Harold Lamos, local farmer and entrepreneur. And then he smiled. "I guess this land is good for a lot of things besides just farming,"
Harold had purchase seven acres of land in the heart of the Lakes Region of New Hampshire and saw a potential to help friends and neighbors and at the same time expose more people to the beauty of nature and the charm and variety of local artisans.
The 39-year-old farmer cleared the area and opened it to businesses and crafters within a 20-mile area of Ashland, New Hampshire, with the hope of attracting at least 10 or so to fill the benches he made from rescued timber cleared from a recently demolished barn. He also constructed a stage where local musicians are encouraged to perform while folks stroll about at the leisure.
As of this blog entry, he has filled all the benches and is hard pressed to keep up with those who want to be part of this "Open Air Market."
A beautiful spring-fed pond ringed with emerald trees and flowers will soon be stocked with fish courtesy of Kiwanis International, and a local landscaping company ("Simple by Choice") had donated material for a "hands on" garden offering kinds a chance to plant, tend and harvest vegetable crops.
And artistic creations? There was a man selling beautiful hand-crafted wooden puzzles, games, and Christmas decorations. Right next door was a colorful display of reworked and decorated furniture. There were many booths featuring jewelry of all types and one where a gentleman used antique tractor seats in his cocktail table and chair designs.
In the middle was a licensed masseuse offering soothing massages.
On the hand-built and tarp-covered stage (which was wired for sound), a string band called "Just Because" was producing pretty songs and lively bluegrass as well as other standards. People were smiling and clapping in time. The joint was jumping.
Area service clubs are encouraged to use the space to promote their organizations. A local fire department youth explorers group was selling hot coffee and the 4-H was represented by several young ladies selling homemade cookies, bread, cupcakes and goodies.
The market is an on-going project that Harold says will grow by the end of the summer with more vendors, more of nature's bounty, and more musicians. It will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. the first Saturday of the month through October.