BATTLE GROUND — Behind a table featuring samples of her banana and pumpkin breads, Beth Bauer danced in place to the distant sounds of a band playing a “Proud Mary” cover.
“To stay warm,” explained Bauer, the owner of La Center-based B Strong Bread.
Bauer and dozens of other local business owners braved low-50s temperatures and dreary skies to sell food, clothes, jewelry and other items during the opening morning of this year’s Battle Ground Village Outdoor Market. Event organizers estimated between 48 to 50 vendors participated Saturday, an increase of perhaps 10 or 15 vendors from last year. Turnout, organizers said, was strong despite less-than-ideal weather conditions.
Event organizers and vendors said the open market serves dual purposes: It generates interest in local businesses’ products, and it showcases Battle Ground Village to people living in the community and beyond. The market will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Saturday through July and then from 3 to 7:30 p.m. each Friday from August to September.
For Bauer, selling her all-natural, high-fiber bread at the market is a chance to create buzz about her products. From
there, she hoped to create enough consumer demand to begin selling her breads at local grocery stores. Right now, stores are unsure where to place it — it’s between bread and dessert, she said.
“It’s a great place to test-market new products, which is why we’re here,” Bauer said.
Weather for hats
While Bauer danced the chill away, Jennifer Solverson walked around the park pavilion area with her 18-month-old daughter, Bethany Nease, in her arms. A crocheted hat with an owl design kept Bethany’s head warm.
Solverson creates jewelry for the Vancouver-based Be Crafty Store, a joint venture with her sister, Jessica Pestes, who sews and crochets, and mother, Patte Solverson, who does paper crafts.
“It’s a good weather day for the hats to sell,” noted Patte Solverson, who sat in a folding chair wearing a black jacket and a heavy scarf wrapped around her neck.
The cool temperatures came with the territory, Amboy resident Amy Greathouse said as she clutched her dachshund-spaniel, Wally. She welcomed the opportunity to buy local produce and vegetables at a market closer to her home than Vancouver.
While Greathouse made a conscious effort to attend the event, Battle Ground Village resident Rosie Donaldson, her husband and three young children were walking to the nearby library when they stumbled upon the market.
“The tomato buckets were kind of cool,” Donaldson said, when asked what stood out. Event organizer Jennifer Riddle provided Donaldson’s children with orange and purple balloons. Nearby, Rosie’s soon-to-be-6-year-old daughter Audrey remarked that she knew sign language for the color purple.
Balloons, plastic construction hard hats and gift bags with $5 coupons redeemable with any of the vendors were handed out during the market. Of the 100 gift bags Riddle prepared for the event, all but a handful were distributed by 11:00 a.m.
“I think the word is getting out,” Riddle concluded.