The Chattanooga Public Market launches its season with the Chattanooga River Market on Saturday, March 24, at the Tennessee Aquarium Plaza. This is the second full season for the River Market, which animates the downtown Chattanooga scene with alternate outdoor shopping and live music from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Like its sister Sunday Market, the River Market highlights handmade, local artistry, crafts, unique gifts and a small selection of food vendors. The River Market will run through Labor Day weekend, and provides yet another weekly opportunity to support local merchants and farmers.
In conjunction with the Tennessee Aquarium’s 20th Anniversary, several “Nighttime Markets” will take place at the Tennessee Aquarium Plaza throughout the season. The first date scheduled, April 28, will host live music and an open market in the heart of downtown, paired with extended aquarium hours for an evening of celebration. Other scheduled dates are July 4 and Sept. 1.
“We provide a storefront for small local businesses who otherwise would not be able to afford a start. Our local farmers appreciate a platform to sell their fresh picked produce weekly and thus Chattanooga has become an increasingly supportive community of buying local,” said Chris Thomas, executive director of the market.
A seasoned favorite, the Chattanooga Market at First Tennessee Pavilion will begin again on Sunday, April 22, in celebration of Earth Day. “We are going to highlight some of our vendors that use recycled materials,” said Paul Smith, general manager of the market.
Complete with over 30 themed events in its 11th season, each week will partner with a charity or agricultural tie-in. “You don’t just come to the same market, it gives our patrons something new each week,” said Smith.
In addition to the expected community events, abundance of vendors and notable line-up of live music, this season includes an expansion of the growing Holiday Market Too!, which debuted at the Chattanooga Convention Center last year. With this addition, the season extends into the holidays on Dec. 8-9, 15-16, and 21-23.
New musicians will play free shows each Sunday at the Chattanooga Market, along with returning favorites. The live-music line-up can be found at chattanoogamarket.com. For good taste in music and local fare, the Market Café will continue to be open for lunch.
The mission of the nonprofit Chattanooga Market is to provide a platform for artists and farmers to sell their handmade, home-grown goods in a low-cost environment that benefits the community through cultural enrichment and support of local economies. Vendor sales last year exceeded $2 million, with most all of the profits retained by the local vendors themselves. Chattanooga Market expenses only require a small portion.