The seasoning opening event was previously set for Tuesday, June 2, at the recently completed Farmer’s Market Pavilion at 106 Unicoi Village Place.
In a press release announcing the cancelation, town officials said they do not anticipate the market opening to be reschedule for the next three weeks.
Located next door to the Unicoi Tourist Information and Visitors Center just off Exit 32 of Interstate 26, the market features fresh fruits, vegetables and baked goods as well as local craft vendors and craft demonstrations and individual yard sale vendors.
Because of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, vendors were to be set up under the new pavilion facing outward to aid in social distancing. Other precautionary measures put in place to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, included:
• Required use of face masks.
• Use of hand sanitizer at entrance.
• Use of disposable gloves for testing ripeness of produce.
• One-way shopping lane.
• Additional space between vendors and customers.
• Requests for exact change or small change.
Unicoi Communications and Programs Director Ashley Shelton said the pavilion was designed specifically for the market and will be a treat for vendors in the coming months.
But for the time being, she said, “We won’t be able to use the new pavilion exactly as intended right now because of COVID restrictions. We will have vendors face outward to create a one-way flow of traffic that helps maintain social distancing, but it will still be nice for the vendors to be under roof.”
The pavilion has been under construction since last summer and was completed about four weeks ago. Dubbed the Buffalo Pavilion, the building was constructed with a Tennessee Department of Health grant awarded to Mountain Harvest Kitchen to encourage healthy food choices and improve community and individual health outcomes.
The Tanasi Art Gallery located inside the visitors center also will be open during the weekly market.
Picnic tables will be available for those who wish to pick up a fresh lunch at the market.
Unicoi Mayor Johnny Lynch said the combination of the farmers market and yard sale was a big hit for the town last year. “The variety is what sets us apart from other markets and it’s a treat for travelers that stop to use the visitors center’s facilities,” Lynch said.
Farm products, prepared food and handmade crafts require a $5 annual market fee. Yard sale booths and craft demonstration spaces are free with the submission of an application.
Only one application is required after which vendors must call to reserve their space. Tents, tables, chairs and other equipment are not provided.
Vendor applications are available online at unicoitn.net. More information and assistance with vendor applications may be obtained by email to [email protected] or by calling Patricia Bennett at 423-735-0517.
Editors Note: This story has been revised to include Monday’s postponement of the market opening previously set for Tuesday, June 2.