The first season of the Olde Pickerington Farmers' Market ended like it started, with a steady stream of customers and vendors grateful for the business.
A bright and sunny Thursday, Sept. 26, marked the conclusion of the market's 16-week run in the municipal parking lot at the corner of North Center Street and Town Square Drive.
Maggie Arendt of the nonprofit Olde Pickerington Village Business Association, which sponsors the event, said there were concrete numbers to back up her claim the Farmers' Market succeeded well beyond everyone's expectations.
"In most of July, we had almost 800 people every week," Arendt said.
"When school started those numbers dipped," she said, adding the last day of the event still drew "450 people."
"All in all, it went way beyond our expectations," Arendt said.
"We've gotten comments from people who said they can't wait until next year and we've received quite a few phone calls from farmers and craftsmen who want to be in the market next year," she said.
On the last day, those wishing to sample a personal wood-fired pizza from Pickerington-based Pompeii's Inferno quickly formed a line and placed orders.
Most ate their pizza at one of four canopied picnic tables in the center of the market.
"We make our dough fresh, using all fresh ingredients and then we bake it from order for five minutes in an 800-degree wood-fired oven," said Traci Glavocich, owner of Pompeii's.
Her family's mobile pizza operation has garnered quite a following among patrons of the Farmer's Market, as evidenced by the brisk commerce conducted.
"(The Farmers' Market) has been excellent for the first year," Glavocich said.
"We've had great turnouts.
"One day was washed out, but other than that the weather has been great," she said.
"For us personally, we've generated some loyal customers through this. People come here to get their dinner."
One customer, Elaine Killen of Pickerington, slowly milled about, browsing the wares as she waited for her pizza.
She said it was her first visit to the market.
"I just wanted to check the place out, finally," Killen said.
"This is neat," she said. "It's something nice for the community.
"There's a variety of good food and some crafty things."
Vlade Popovski, a Pickerington resident and a native of Macedonia, was selling home-baked "country bread" in oval-shaped loaves as well as baklava.
"This year, business has been going very good," Popovski said.
Both he and Robin Beyer, a licensed canner who also sells home-baked pies, said they would be back next year.
As will singer/guitarist Mike Monroe, who has performed classic rock staples each week at the Farmers' Market.
"I'm going to miss it," Monroe said.
"Hopefully I'll be back. We've had some pretty decent weeks here and only the one rainout," he said.
Arendt said there are plans to expand and improve the Farmers' Market for next year.
"We're looking to add electricity," Arendt said.
"We have four vendors who use generators, so it was a bit on the noisy side," she said.
"Hopefully we'll create more space by clearing out undergrowth."
She said the business association owes a debt of gratitude to both Pickerington's city staff and City Council for assistance getting the Farmers' Market up and running.
"We got a tremendous amount of help from the city," Arendt said.
"We're so appreciative everything turned out so well," she said.