Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Big Changes Coming to the Amphitheatre Farmers Market; by Stuart Korfhage

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Big Changes Coming to the Amphitheatre Farmers Market; by Stuart Korfhage

Article excerpt

Byline: GateHouse Media

Katie Provow and her husband, Nick, decided last year to take over management of the farmers market at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre with the intention of doing more than just maintaining the status quo.

While that might not have been apparent in the first few months after taking over in August, it's about to become pretty obvious. Provow and the Amphitheatre announced some major additions to the market, some of which start with today's event. That includes the acceptance of -- and matching the funds for -- SNAP/EBT benefits. But the biggest change will begin March 27 when the first of the monthly night markets takes place, scheduled for 6-9 p.m. and includes entertainment.

"The idea is to make it more of an entertaining night out," Provow said. "We're going to try a couple different things on the entertainment side to see what sticks."

The original request for proposal said the manager might have the use of the facility on some weekdays, so Provow decided to take advantage of the opportunity and create something of a new audience. She said the Saturday morning market doesn't work for everyone and doesn't appeal to everyone, so this will be a different experience.

"There's a couple of night markets around the state," she said. "There's one in Gainesville and one in Orlando, a couple others that have seen some real success, so the Amphitheatre management thought that was a great idea, too, and a way to make use of their space on some weeknights where it's not in use."

The night markets will feature about 90 booths, which is down slightly from Saturday mornings (about 110 vendors).

Each night will have different entertainment. The first night market will feature local indie band The Young Step playing on the Front Porch at 6:30 p.m. Additional confirmed night market entertainment includes a screening of "Revenge of the Creature," hosted by the Historical Society on April 24, the annual Friends of the St. Augustine Amphitheatre Guitar Raffle on May 22 and a Contra/Square Dancing night hosted by Skin & Bonz on June 26. If the response is good, Provow said the night markets will expand to two times a month in July.

It isn't just the night markets that have additional programming, though. On the first Saturday of every month, The Yoga Collective will host a donation-based yoga class on the Front Porch. On the fourth Saturday of each month, chef Amy Rupert Secol will create dishes from ingredients purchased directly from the vendors at the market that morning. Visitors can watch her live demonstration, taste samples and get the recipe to make the dish at home.

For the Amphitheatre, the expansion of the offerings at the market is just another opportunity to provide programming to the community beyond the normal music acts, said Dianya Markovits, marketing and community relations manager. …

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