A crowd of about 1,500 enjoyed the first episode of the Third Thursday 2022 concert series, according to officials at Downtown Marion, Inc.
Manager Allen Wilson said attendance at the May 19 concert and street festival was “phenomenal” for both the community and local business owners.
“As a comparison between the first event last May and the one in May, sales doubled or tripled compared to last year,” he said. “It says a lot about the growth of our downtown and that the community knows we have a thriving and viable downtown. We are very lucky to have had as many outings as we have. make it bigger and better. and hope for a bigger crowd every time we get it.”
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Wilson said the mobile food vendors helped enhance the experience and offered Third Thursday attendees a variety of culinary choices.
“We had two food trucks at the last event and will continue to have at least two and maybe more,” he said. “Local restaurants are very supportive of us having local food trucks in the DORA (designated outdoor refreshment area) neighborhood. This helps reduce wait times at these establishments.”
Wilson noted that he thinks having a designated outdoor refreshment area, or DORA, in downtown Marion contributed positively to third Thursday attendance. The DORA includes the area between Main and Prospect streets and between Center and Church streets.
“The DORA was a big plus,” he said. “Luckily we opened Amato’s (Wood Fired Pizza at the corner of Center and Prospect streets) this year. It was a huge success and with its location and gave us a second location for the third Thursday which really adds to the benefit of the DORA.”
Due to numerous requests from people who regularly attend the event, Wilson said the third Thursday has been extended, adding two more months to the 2022 schedule.
“Everyone was asking for a little more, so we added two more months to make sure we can have all summer and start the fall,” he said.
Here is the music lineup for the rest of the program:
June 16 — Left of center
July 21 – Lucky Penny Sisters
August 18 – Triple Shot
September 15 – Sneaky Pete and the Players
October 20 – Cherry Blonde
Due to the ongoing renovation project at Founder’s Park, Wilson said Downtown Marion, Inc. decided to move the Marion Farmers Market from the park to Center Street. Vendors were given space at 143 to 187 W. Center Street along the south side of the causeway, an area from State Street to Charleston Place.
Wilson said he thinks the move would be good for local businesses along Center Street as well as vendors who attend the weekly Farmer’s Market.
“Our vendors sold their plants, baked goods, jellies, etc.,” Wilson said. “Merchants on Center Street also saw their sales increase during Third Thursday and the Farmers’ Market. They are usually not open that late, so that was a bonus for them. All stayed open until at least 7 p.m. hours and some of them they stayed open after that because they still had customers, so that was great.”
The Marion Farmers Market will continue to run its weekly schedule every Thursday through October 27 from 4-7 p.m. The standard range of fresh produce, flowers, jams, jellies, honey, baked goods and other locally produced products will be available.
Wilson said the market will close during Marion County Fair Week the first week of July and during the Marion Popcorn Festival in September.
For more information on the activities of Downtown Marion, Inc. or the Marion Farmers Market, contact Wilson at 740-802-7329 or email [email protected]
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