Stop by Beach Boulevard on any given Tuesday morning and you'll notice vendors setting up tables, musicians entertaining the crowd and artists showcasing their talents at the . For more than six years the market has lured people downtown with
Now, by popular demand, organizers are extending the hours on the first Tuesday of the month to 8 p.m. starting in October; current hours are from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
“I think it’s the next stage in the evolution of the success of our market,” Fresh Market Coordinator Daniel Hodge said.
Hodge believes the longer hours will give even more residents and visitors a chance to shop after work.
"We get comments very frequently from people that wish they could come to the market, but they can’t because it’s in the middle of their work day," he said.
Hodge says the longer hours will begin with the first Tuesday Market in October and will continue through the peak season and end in May. This will be a one-year trial to see if the 11-hour-day market is successful.
Hodge says they will have a special event during the evening hours. On October 2, there will be a raw foods demonstration by Chef and Author Laura Garrison. Guests will learn about preparation and dehydrating techniques. Garrison will also share recipes and samples.
Organizers hope the change will also allow new vendors to join the market while bringing in more business to shops downtown.
"Everyone’s pretty enthusiastic, they see it as another opportunity for a new group of customers that they’ve never been able to enjoy before," Hodge said.
Lori Rosso with the Gulfport Area Chamber of Commerce agrees. She says the new hours may lure customers to restaurants that may not be open during lunch hours.
"Daniel has taken a staple ‘fresh market concept’ and turned it into something truly unique and totally Gulfport. To be able to keep later hours for folks who cannot make it there during the day is a great opportunity," Rosso said.
"The Gulfport Area Chamber of Commerce did not miss a moment once it was presented it to us, to recommend this to the City.
Who knows what will come of it, Daniel will reassess it in the spring to see if it should continue. I have no doubt it will help boost excitement downtown on Tuesday evenings," Rosso said.
For more information, contact Daniel Hodge at 727-366-4086 or email email@example.com.
Check out the Fresh Market’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/gulfportfreshmarket.html.
Check out our photos and stories we've put together about the Gulfport Fresh Market on Gulfport Patch! Do you have photos from the market? Add them on this article.