Wednesday market may return in fall

Organizers are working on a development plan and finding sponsors to continue the popular downtown attraction.

Published April 1, 2007

The Wednesday Midday Market, a popular draw for eight weeks in Williams Park, has ended its run but is expected to return this fall.

"That is what we are anticipating at this point in time. It seems to be the consensus that everyone wants it," manager David Cellon said.

Organizers will focus on developing a marketing plan and finding sponsors between now and mid October, the target date for reopening.

Perhaps 25 to 30 food and craft vendors, some familiar from the more established Saturday Morning Market, set up Wednesday booths near Williams Park's band shell. Organizers estimated the event drew 1,000 to 1,200 patrons each week.

Initially planned as a four-week experiment, the market kept going for two extra two-week periods, helped by Progress Energy and the Downtown Partnership, a business alliance. St. Petersburg College's downtown campus pitched in, too.

The market faced a delicate challenge: coexisting with homeless people who make the park a daytime gathering spot.

But no apparent problems emerged. The market set up on one side of the park, and the urban campers moved to another side.

The market, organizers said in a letter, "was accomplished without contention, in a way that honored everyone present."

Don Shea, Downtown Partnership president, is optimistic about the market's future.

"I would really like to see if we could sustain this thing all around the year. It really deserves it," Shea said.