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Director hopes to grow market





More vendors, musicians and activities are among the ideas for the second season of the Downtown Hays Market.

The event debuted last summer with 35 vendors peddling such wares as fresh produce, food, handmade soaps and quilts, said Megan Colson, executive director of Downtown Hays Development Corp. Attracting more participants with diverse offerings is a goal for the program's second season from June 7 to Oct. 4.

"The focus of the market is just handmade, homegrown type things," Colson said.

"It's not stuff that people can purchase and resell," Colson said.

Potential vendors are invited to join the market's planning committee and contribute their input. Area musicians are encouraged to apply and provide entertainment.

Activities also might be expanded. A family picnic day and cooking demonstrations are two of the potential programs aimed to engage attendees.

The market offers the area's creators an opportunity to display their skills.

"Whether it's fresh produce made right here around our community to people who are making their own products, crafts, things like that, we're just showing value in hardworking people who enjoy to build and things like that," Colson said.

Cathy Drabkin, owner of Cathy's Breads, was a vendor at last year's market and plans to attend the second season. The baker said feedback from customers inspired her to expand her business.

"Towards the end of the market, people were saying, 'Well, how am I going to get my bread? Do I have to wait 'til next summer?' " Drabkin said, "So, I developed a bread of the week subscription service."

She plans to sell a range of sweet and savory breads at the market. Markets benefit both vendors and customers, she said.

"I really think farmer markets are good for community and good for just people being aware of where their food comes from and what goes into their food," she said.

To learn how to participate in the Downtown Hays Market, visit www.downtownhays.com.