Open Air Market kicks off summer season

By on May 28, 2014

Shoppers at Ephrata’s Open Air Market were treated to a wonderfully sunny, yet, cool day in which to browse the wares of the many merchants in attendance during the market’s season opening May 17.ER20140528_Cmarket210

The Whistle Stop Plaza was packed full of people, many of them eager to get a glimpse &tstr; and maybe a picture or two &tstr; of Princesses Elsa and Anna from Disney’s Frozen, both of whom were in attendance to give the Market a royal kick-off. The princesses sang songs and gave warm greetings to the many children who came to see them. The royal guests heralded the arrival of many new merchants at this year’s market, as well as the advent of a character, the “Burro of Ephrata,” who will be seen in merchant’s stores every month for the rest of the year.

“Half of the vendors are brand new this year,” said Stephanie Harley of Intermezzo by Stephanie and a member of the Ephrata Merchant’s Association. “Merchant attendance at the Open Air Market is voluntary and there is no paid market master to coordinate everything. The merchants do make some money, but much of it goes back into the market for PR and such.”

ER20140528_Cmarket243When approaching the booth of Moss Lane Soaps, one of the many newcomers to the market, the first thing you’ll hear is, “Feel free to take a whiff of anything that looks interesting to you.”

Owned and operated by father and son duo, David and Joseph Dennis, Moss Lane Soaps offers 62 different scented soaps. Christie Dennis, David’s wife and Joseph’s mother, were manning the booth on Saturday morning.

“David and Joseph make the soaps. They come up with all the different scents,” Christie said. With scents like Triple Mint, which incorporates three different kinds of mint; Monkey Breath, an infusion of banana and fruit fragrances; and Blue Ice, a refreshing combination of peppermint and eucalyptus, there’s enough of a variety of aromas to please anyone.

Another merchant new to the Open Air Market is ecoLeftz, a toy store that makes all of their plush toys from recycled materials.

“All of our creatures are made from materials salvaged from thrift shop items like jackets, shirts, and pants,” owner Mary Higgins said. “The really fuzzy creatures come from tearing apart old stuffed animals and reusing the outside materials &tstr; that’s something that the kids usually find a little disconcerting, but it doesn’t keep them from loving the new creatures we make for them from the old parts.”

Higgins has been making her plush creations since 2009 and she has been featured in Plush Magazine, a journal devoted to everything in the stuffed-animal world. Speaking of unusual, inanimate animals, the market seemed to be a magnet for them, take the Burro of Ephrata for example.ER20140528_Cmarket263

Greeting shoppers at the entrance to the Market, was the Burro, a donkey statue donated by Roxanne’s Flowers in Akron. As a one-time only event for the market and in keeping with the royalty theme, the Burro was dressed up &tstr; in a red fez, and carrying what looked like a scroll &tstr; as a storybook character. By guessing who the Burro was supposed to be, shoppers could enter a drawing to a win a prize from Art of Recycle.

From the market, the Burro of Ephrata will travel to a new location in one of the stores belonging to a member of the Ephrata Merchant’s Association. Shoppers are encouraged to find the Burro in his new location and enter their names in another drawing, this time for a prize from the store housing the donkey statue. At the end of the month, a name will be drawn, a prize will be given, and then the Burro of Ephrata will move on to a different Merchant’s Association store to start the process over again. The Burro of Ephrata will not, however, be dressed up for his other appearances.

The royal opening of Ephrata’s Open Air Market provided plenty of shopping and fun for all ages. The visit by the princesses, all the new merchants, and the arrival of the Burro of Ephrata made this market a special occasion. Be sure to check out the market next month when it will be having an “International” theme.

Merriell Moyer is a correspondent for The Ephrata Review.

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