By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Cherokee will soon have its very own open air market where EBCI artists and farmers can sell their homemade and handmade wares. The Cherokee Homemade-Handmade Market will be set up on Saturdays (except during major events) in front of the Cherokee Indian Fairgrounds.
The idea was hatched by Mary Ann Thompson, an EBCI tribal member from the Big Cove Community. “Over the past few years, I have heard several people mention an art market here in Cherokee,” she said. “The Cooperative Extension office has organized a farmer’s market, and it just seemed a natural fit to host a culture/agriculture market.”
She, in turn, discussed the idea with EBCI Travel and Promotion staff as well as the Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, Inc. board. Both were on board and the idea ran from there.
“Obviously, this market would provide additional income and exposure for the artist, homemaker and farmer,” said Thompson. “Locals would have a place to sell and purchase handmade, homemade and home-grown items. The tourists would benefit and should enjoy the one-on-one contact with the artist.”
Sarah McClellan-Welch, EBCI Agriculture Agent, commented, “This market will be great! I think that combining Cherokee Art and Agriculture will make a really pleasant shopping experience. In fact, most of our growers are artists also!”
Mary Jane Ferguson, EBCI Travel & Promotion director, commented, “The Cherokee Homemade – Handmade market for local artists and farmers is a welcomed opportunity that will showcase the beautiful art created in Cherokee.”
She continued, “It will also be an opportunity to sample tasty baked goods, local delicacies such as bean bread, chestnut bread, knutchie and the beautiful creations by many talented homemakers and local cooks. The local produce will be a vibrant addition to local arts and will further strengthen the farm to table initiative that so many locals and visitors alike are seeking.”
An exact schedule for the Open Air Market has not yet been determined. Read the One Feather for updates.