Market Marie, Art in the Park showcase Clearwater's revitalized Coachman Park

The Market Marie moved to Coachman Park on the second Saturday in October, its third home in downtown Clearwater following successful stays at the corner of Court Street and Myrtle Avenue and, more recently, along the foot-traffic stretch of Cleveland Street. 

It was a sunny, comfortable Saturday in the park, like the one celebrated in song by the band Chicago, who just happened to have played the waterfront park’s new amphitheater, The Sound, on the Saturday before. It made for a very nice Saturday for Market Marie and the local vendors and artisans at the monthly market.

“So many businesses either sold out or had record sales,” says Blair Valentine, founder of Market Marie. “That was the majority of the feedback we got from the vendors. I’d say most of the food and drink vendors and baked goods sold out well before the market ended. Pet treats, clothing and house plants reported record sales. Lots of our vendors had a really successful day so we’re happy about it.”

Valentine launched her business, Market Culture, the Market Marie and Market Elaine in Wesley Chapel in 2021. She named the markets Marie and Elaine for her grandmothers, who she says both passed away the year she started the business. She says Market Elaine, an evening market on the first Friday of the month, can draw in the range of 150 vendors. She sees that potential at Coachman Park, where there were more than 110 vendors in October and a total crowd of 3,000 to 4,000 on the day. 

“It helps for any market anywhere if you have something nearby like a park, a view, or a restaurant, just to make people want to go there or stay longer,” Valentine says. “It does help to keep crowds there. At Coachman, there was a group of people working out on the green when we were setting up and I saw them come through and shop. There were families coming through with their kids…People want to go there. It’s a beautiful park on the water. There’s a built-in splash pad, You can get on the ferry and go to the beach. People are already talking about it. It’s a destination location.”

Right now, Market Marie is scheduled at Coachman Park through December, with the possibility it will stay there long-term. The next market is 10 a.m. to  3 p.m. on Saturday, November 11th.

Art in the Park

That early October Chicago concert, last weekend’s Clearwater Jazz Holiday and the Sammy Hagar and the Circle show this Saturday are part of a busy line-up at The Sound, the new amphitheater with 4,000 covered seats and space for 5,000 on the lawn that Ruth Eckerd Hall runs through an agreement with the City of Clearwater. 

There’s also a focus on those weekly and monthly events - yoga, cardio fit workouts, library storytimes, or a more large-scale event like Market Marie to the freshly redeveloped waterfront park. Those events bring activity and people to the park. The waterfront park, rebuilt with a splash pad and playground, brings people to the events. 

This Sunday, October 29th, the City of Clearwater brings another event, Art in the Park. Professional mural artists Sonny Behan, Alyssa Dunlap and Ernesto Maranje will paint murals on the park’s mural and overlook walls while approximately 40 artists and artisans will display their work along the waterfront bluff, with the public voting on their favorite. Winning artists will have the opportunity to display their work in a city building like the downtown library or the Aging Well Center. 

Amber Brice, Clearwater’s Arts & Cultural Affairs Coordinator, says the event carries on the tradition of an indoor art walk she organized at the downtown library.

“We had already scheduled professional artists to come to paint two of the mural walls in Coachman, as well as the overlook wall, I thought it would be really to make that more of an event,” Brice says. “Ideally, if it is successful and we get good feedback, I would like to do it quarterly.”

Since Art in the Park is a city event, there’s no fee for artists, which gives more local, up-and-coming artists an opportunity to show their work, Brice says.

Looking ahead at future art events, Brice says a lantern festival inspired by the festival in Clearwater’s Sister City of Nagano, Japan is planned for February.

For more information, go to Market Marie and Art in the Park.
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Read more articles by Christopher Curry.

Chris Curry has been a writer for the 83 Degrees Media team since 2017. Chris also served as the development editor for a time before assuming the role of managing editor in May 2022. Chris lives in Clearwater. His professional career includes more than 15 years as a newspaper reporter, primarily in Ocala and Gainesville, before moving back home to the Tampa Bay Area. He enjoys the local music scene, the warm winters and Tampa Bay's abundance of outdoor festivals and events. When he's not working or spending time with family, he can frequently be found hoofing the trails at one of Pinellas County's nature parks.