New Open-Air Market Opens Saturday In Largo

A new weekly open-air market in Largo will celebrate its grand opening on April 14th.

The first City of Largo Open-Air Market will take place outdoors at the Largo Community Center at 400 Alt. Keene Rd. in Largo on Saturday, April 14th from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Approximately 40 local vendors will be on-site selling produce, artisan foods, jewelry and one-of-a-kind crafts, among other things.

“There are a lot of farmers markets all over Pinellas County, but very few of them have as many vendors as we have starting off,” says Largo Community Center Program Manager Warren Ankerberg. “We're trying to focus on local growers -- people who produce their fruits and vegetables here in Florida. If it's traditionally grown in Florida, we want it sold here.”

Made possible by a grant from the Pinellas County Health Department with sponsorship by the Pinellas County Master Gardener Program, the market will focus on promoting farming and gardening among local growers and residents to stimulate the economy and promote healthy eating. Produce from the Community Center's garden -- which also recently received a grant for expansion from the Health Department -- will be available at the market.

“I have a lot of really good gardeners and farmers that are growing fruits, vegetables and all kinds of things in our garden. It's been a pretty popular thing and our goal is to make it self-sustaining,” Ankerberg says. “There's a large subculture of people who are already growing produce, but a limited opportunity to sell them -- a lot of it goes to waste. We want to help the local community out and make an economic impact.”

The grand opening celebration will feature live entertainment, clowns, balloon artists, magicians and cooking demonstrations. The market will run every Saturday through June 9th with nine live performances planned. An EBT machine is slated to be installed on Community Center property for residents on food stamps.

According to Ankerberg, the market will go dark for the summer before starting back up in September of 2012 and continuing every Saturday through May of 2013. Ankerberg plans for the market to return in the Fall of 2013.

“It looks like this market is going to be a good thing,” he says. “I think we have a really cool operation planned out and there's already a lot of interest. I'm really excited about it.”

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Warren Ankerberg, Largo Community Center
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