New weekly market to launch in Langley

— Created July 1, 2020 by Kathy Reed

By Kacie Jo Voeller

As Phase III reopening continues on Whidbey Island, new opportunities and events are also starting to take flight, including the New Friday Street Market in Langley.

Each Friday through Sept. 25, Langley’s First and Second Streets will showcase vendors and retailers from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. In addition to items from local artisans, the weekly event, a collaboration between the Langley Chamber of Commerce and Langley Creates, will feature local musicians and an atmosphere of community. 

Mary Ann Mansfield, chair of the steering committee for Langley Creates, said the groups planning the event hope to generate more creativity and business in Langley through the market as things begin to reopen.

“I think what we are looking forward to most is sparking some new energy in town as we move forward out of the COVID virus shutdown,” she said. “And we look forward to creating some new opportunities for artists and farmers and a variety of vendors.”

Inge Morascini, executive director of the Langley Chamber of Commerce, said the aim is to grow the market as time goes on. 

“We will be adding to the market each week, and in addition to local produce, food and crafts, we will engage musicians to give performances,” she said. “We are also looking forward to spontaneous ‘flash’ creative participation along the bluff on Cascade Avenue, so the public is invited to come each week to see what’s new and to take part in creative activities.”

Priscilla Lowry, founder of WhidbeyWaxWorks, said she hopes to see the event expand as time goes on. Lowry plans to sell handcrafted natural beeswax candles at the market.

“I think it (the market) is going to very gracefully appear and then hopefully gracefully and graciously grow into something that everyone can look forward to doing on Fridays for the afternoon,” she said.

Morascini said safety will also be an important consideration for the market’s organization.

“We will be distancing all vendors six feet apart and will provide space between vendors and the public,” she said. “Our setup will be in the parking spaces off of the sidewalk, leaving the sidewalk free for traffic. Langley requires masks be worn by everyone in the business district and there are outdoor hand washing stations available.”

Jesse Levesque, the market manager for the New Friday Street Market, said part of the reason for the event was to create a marketplace for local artisans after Langley Creates, a coalition of entities in the community, applied for and received the distinction of a Certified Creative District for Langley in March.

“This marketplace conceptually is intended to bring together not only goods and products, a lot of which are handmade and local to the south part of the island, but also ideas and services and organizations and scientists and anybody making anything who needs a marketplace,” she said. “We have been so isolated from each other except for online. This is a way to re-energize the southern part of the island in a physical space, but outside and at a healthy distance so that people can exchange everything from products to what they are working on.”

Mansfield said as a Creative District, greater opportunities for programs and events supporting the arts and creators will become available. She said the steering committee of Langley Creates completed a rigorous application to achieve the certification.

“By going through that (application) process it gives us a lot of credibility when we apply for grants and funding from various organizations for some of the programs we hope to put in place,” she said.

Levesque said the market is intended to give vendors and the public alike the chance to build community connections.

“I want everyone to know, if you are a vendor, if you are participating in it, if you are an entertainer or a musician, it is meant to be a supportive platform,” she said. “And if you are the public, coming to it is meant to be a way to get people things that are being made right here and grown right here and a way to relax outside and walk through something and experience something without having to be shut in for a moment.”

Kim Gruetter, a farmer at Salty Acres in Coupeville, said the market will be especially important this year, when many larger festivals and events have been canceled. Gruetter will be selling flowers and other produce at markets later on, when Salty Acres’ flowers are ready to be sold.

“You have to remember that all of these artisans and all of these people depend on festivals especially, art festivals and street festivals, and a lot of those have been canceled,” she said. “That does not mean that they did not work all year to make product, to make crafts, to make art that they depend on to sell, but now they do not have a place to sell them, so these kinds of things are really important and the only way we are going to get them is on a very local level.” 

Lowry, who has been pouring candles since 1999, said events like the market are vital in a creative community like Langley.

“The arts matter and the connection to that beauty and the act of creativity and just being with kindred spirits, I think it is all vital and that is what gets us through as well,” she said.

For more information on the New Langley Friday Street Market, visit Interested vendors can participate for the entire season for $175 or $20 for one day. A temporary vendor license is also required, which costs $33, and sign-up must be completed seven days prior to the date of participation.