The Wednesday Market at the pier brings produce, art and local goodness

By Elizabeth Thabault|

The Wednesday Market on the beach may be one of St. Augustine’s best kept secrets. Every Wednesday, 60 to 80 vendors participate in this farmers market from 8:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. A variety of products can be found within, spanning from fresh, local produce, to unique art and hand-crafted jewelry.

The market is sponsored by the Saint Augustine Beach Civic Association, which promotes the art culture and encourages members of the community to be active and involved.

The Wednesday Market attracts local vendors, residents and tourists, who each contribute to the weekly market’s success.

The proceeds each week go to the funding of other community events such as the Free Concert Series, landscape keeping and building of parks.

The market is located in the St. Johns County Pier Park, overlooking the beach. Upon entering, one can experience the cheerful, relaxing atmosphere, while taking in the aromas of freshly baked bread and other delicious food. The combination of mouth-watering fragrances, the sun shining down, plenty of things to see and great live music makes for an enjoyable shopping trip.

When perusing the aisles of vendors, a unique variety of products is featured. There is a plentiful amount of locally grown fruit and vegetables, as well as one-of-a-kind homemade baked goods.

Local artists and craft-makers also add to the assortment, by displaying intricate works like watercolor paintings, didgeridoos (wooden horn-like instruments) and handmade jewelry.

Linda B. Jones of Palm Coast, Fla., has participated as a vendor in the Wednesday Market for over ten years. Her display consists of hand-crafted butterfly and dragonfly suncatchers, nightlights, pins and hairclips. The crafts are colorful, and no two are exactly alike. Jones emphasizes the fact that her butterflies are all made out of recycled bottles.

“I collect plastic bottles from the recycling bins, then I wash them. The curve of each butterfly depends on the type of bottle I use,” she said.

The butterfly creations are painted intricately and appear glossy. They are about two to six inches in size, depending on their use. Jones’s most frequently sold product is the suncatcher, which is a butterfly attached to a thin, sturdy wire, used as a garden decoration.

In front of Jones’s booth is a banner that reads “My Dad’s Butterflies”. She explains the name is a tribute to her father.

“My dad taught me to make the butterflies when I was a little girl. I used to be the butterfly lady, because that’s what everyone called me, but when my father passed away, I changed the name to “My Dad’s Butterflies.”

Jones, like all of the vendors who participate, has an observable passion for her work, which contributes to the market’s appeal.

“This isn’t just a hobby to me. I sometimes spend ten hours a day working on my butterflies. I love doing it,” she said.

Other products that can be found at the market include shark-tooth jewelry, hand-stitched quilts, wind-chimes, beach-themed decorations and more. The produce that is available can also make for a successful shopping experience. Jenny Chandler, a frequent Wednesday Market shopper said,

“This is a charming Farmer’s Market. Where else can you go to get your fruits and veggies and nuts with the ocean breeze wafting by? I plan my week around going every Wednesday.”

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