The final Trail Market on the Esplanade of the year attracted a new kind of customer Saturday, when goblins, ghouls, and ghosts lined up to visit vendors for a trick or treat while their parents shopped.
The 12th outdoor market was a special Halloween edition that coincided with the city’s annual Spooktacular event. Vendors made way for family activities like a hay bale maze, costume contest, and a marshmallow roast and added spooky flair for shoppers, who didn’t let wet weather dampen their spirits. (Photos on Page 16)
“I remember as a kid coming to community events like this and always having a great time,” said Andrea Jolly, Trail communications and events coordinator. “It really does give you a sense of community.”
That’s been the intention of the city in partnership with the Trail and District Chamber of Commerce. The Trail market is in a state of constant evolution, says Jolly, with a goal of meeting the needs of customers and ultimately attracting more people to the downtown.
On average this year, about 500 visitors made a point of checking out any given market that showcased 50 or so vendors selling a variety of goods ranging from fresh produce, baking, handmade crafts and jewelry, unique clothing and pottery.
These numbers doubled when the market was set at night, which was done twice this year to satisfy demand.
“The night market is a little different because if people work on Fridays, they can come to the night markets,” said Christa Munn from the chamber. She has been behind organizing the market since its inception and can remember gauging whether the community even had an appetite for it a few years back.
”The very first market we did we had 10-15 vendors and now we’ve grown to an average of 40 to 55 vendors,” she said.
“Every year we have to take feedback from the community and feedback from the vendors and see how we can make it better and help it evolve.”
The market is not only a place for wares but also good eats and entertainment. Food vendors flip burgers and grill pizzas while musicians create an acoustic backdrop to the gathering place along the Columbia River.
Community groups also notice the turnout and use the location to inform residents of initiatives underway.
“When people come to the market they can have lunch, they can sit and talk to their friends,” said Munn. “It’s amazing to see even with the weather the way it is, people still come out.”
But cooler temperatures will not be an issue moving into the winter months, as the market relocates to the former Liquidation World building Dec. 5, 12, and 19 from noon until 4 p.m.
The indoor market focuses on a “make it, bake it or grow it,” added Munn, who expects the success story to carry through winter.