By: Megan Utter – Contributing Writer
The aroma of freshly baked breads and newly picked flowers surrounds shoppers when they walk up and down the various booths of Dayton’s historic 2nd Street Market.
Around 40 vendors are housed in the 1911 Baltimore and Ohio railroad building on 600 E 2nd Street, which was transformed into a weekend market in 1998. When Five Rivers Metroparks decided to open a farmers market that could be used year round: rain or shine. Before the market found its home on 2nd street, the market was located at Wgerzyn’s Horticulture Center in North Dayton where farmers set up booths outside to sell goods.
Director Marvin Olinsky purchased the current railroad building and saved it from demolition in 2001. Olinsky wanted to have a place where people could enjoy nature’s products.
“Be part of nature,” Olinsky said. “Grow with it, enjoy it. That’s what life is.”
According to Five Rivers Metroparks, the market draws around 370,000 visitors every year. With the busy foot traffic, the market supplies enough merchandise to go around. The vendors take care of that by setting up every week with their respective products.
Booths range from locally grown produce to eco-friendly baby clothes. Various booths allow customers to have a one-stop shop, offering goods made in the Dayton area. Patrons can find products at every price point, allowing college students with tight budgets to find holiday gifts for anyone on their list. Right now many vendors have specific holiday deals perfect for Christmas gifts for the family.
Jon Graham of Jon Graham Pottery has been setting up at 2nd Street Market for 10 years, and he said he loves it. He said that selling his work at the market is a great experience and has created bonds with many regular customers – as he creates his pottery right in front of patrons.
“I have many memories but the one that stands out is when I worked with an 8-year-old boy named Jimmy on the pottery wheel,” Graham said. “Jimmy was very relaxed and followed every direction I gave him. After Jimmy thanked me and left, his neighbors told me that Jimmy was autistic and they had never seen him so calm and focused as he was at the pottery wheel.”
Events like this are why Graham works 10 hours a day and seven days a week on his pottery to sell at the market. He said he is now in peak season with the holidays coming up.
The market also has seasonal activities that bring in community organizations like the University of Dayton’s Pi Beta Phi Greek organization. The event was a pumpkin painting experience for children in the Dayton Community. Pi Beta Phi philanthropy vice president, Libby Harbaugh, coordinated this event.
“The 2nd Street Market staff is so helpful in providing all of the pumpkins and craft supplies so the Greek organizations that volunteer just have to show up and work with the kids,” Harbaugh said.
The Market’s next holiday event is Saturday, featuring a Christmas Walk in Downtown Dayton sponsored by Ohio Wander Freunde. This event is a free outdoor community recreation opportunity and it is open to all ages.
This one stop shop market is open all year round except Christmas, New Year’s Day and Thanksgiving, and is open Thursday through Friday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. For further information about location and vendor bios visit www.metroparks.org/Parks/SecondStreetMarket/Home.aspx.