TheNewsCenter | Parkersburg, West Virginia | News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Vendors Continue To Sell At Farmers Market

By: Ashley Rittenhouse, Brittany Lowe, Shannon Houser
By: Ashley Rittenhouse, Brittany Lowe, Shannon Houser
More Video...

UPDATE: 5/4/2013

They lost everything in the fire. Handmade goods totaling over 150 thousand dollars are now just ashes inside the Farmers Market building at The Washington County Fairgrounds, but the vendors are coming together and moving on.

"I've been working anywhere from 10 to 14 hours in my shop, trying to get built back up. I'll make it, sooner, or later," vendor Gale Karcher says.

These vendors are working harder than ever before after losing everything in the Farmers Market fire on Monday morning.

"I lost 35 pictures, copper easels, odds and ends. A total of about four thousand dollars," Karcher adds.

Vendor, Chuck Potter, says," I make primitive houses, bird houses, blanket chests, and I lost it all."

It's a familiar reality for over 60 vendors, but they're not giving up. In fact, many got together what supplies they could to make a few items to sell at Saturdays market.

"Our vendor turnout today is huge and that just goes to show us the resilience of our farmers," says River City Farmers Market President, Gary Smith.

"I had a few things made ahead, so I just brought it down in support," Potter says.

Support shown throughout the community.

Resident, Steve Vekich and his wife Inez come to the Farmers Market every Saturday. He says, "it's a nice day and we want to support the farmers market"

"The support we've gotten from this community, I just can't believe all the support. We want to thank the community for all they've done for us," Potter adds.

"The community support has been tremendous, and it just goes to show you, the community will come together," says Smith.

A tragedy turning into strength for the vendors to push on.

"We're a family here and we will survive," says Potter.

The ReStore Marietta Cash Mob also showed support by asking participants to spend at least 10 dollars at the Farmers Market on Saturday morning.

A relief fund is set up specifically for the vendors. You can go to Advantage Bank in Marietta to donate under River City Farmers Market Relief Fund.

A cause of the fire still hasn't been released. Officials say they're continuing to interview people.

_____________________________________________________
UPDATE: 5/3/2013

There's still no cause for a massive fire that destroyed a major building at The Washington County Fairgrounds.

The Ohio State Fire Marshal's Office says they are continuing to investigate how the fire started. A K-9 was on scene Tuesday searching for evidence. They say they are interviewing people, but won't say if the fire is suspicious.

The fire left more than 150 thousand dollars in damage just for farmers market vendors.

More than 60 vendors lost everything in the Monday morning fire, but they're not giving up and are still coming together for a farmers market this weekend.

"We have a lot of our vendors who got completely burned out with the fire who have been all this week making just one or two items just to show how strong our market is," says Farmers Market President, Gary Smith.

The River City Farmers Market is this Saturday from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm at the grandstand building at the fairgrounds.

______________________________________________________
UPDATE: 4/30/2013 3:45PM

As of Tuesday afternoon, there's still no word on what caused a fire to completely destroy the Farmers Market building at The Washington County Fairgrounds Monday morning.

A police K9 was on scene Tuesday, helping investigators find out what happened. The dog specializes in accelerants.

The Ohio State Fire Marshal's Office say's they still do not know if the fire is suspicious in nature. They're continuing to investigate and conduct interviews.

The total amount of damage hasn't been released, but vendors lost over 150 thousand dollars worth of goods.

A fund is set up specifically for the market vendors. You can donate at Advantage Bank in Marietta. The fund is listed under The River City Farmers Market Relief Fund.

Market President, Gary Smith, says each vendor will also make and bring an item to the farmers market this Saturday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.

UPDATE: 04/29/2013 7:00 PM

A fire completely destroys the Farmers Market building at The Washington County Fairgrounds. Inside, more than sixty vendors lose everything.

On any Saturday during the year, you can find the River City Farmers Market full of goods and vendors like Gary Kesterson and Marge Long.

"I make all sorts of things out of wood. Desks, hall tree chairs, clocks tables, you name it. If it can be made out of wood, that's what I make," Kesterson says.

"I sold aprons, and handmade hats, and bags to carry other things in," says Long.

But now, all of their goods are gone. A fire Monday morning destroyed the building and everything inside. Leaving the vendors with nothing.

"They had all their product in the building. Most of it was not insured," says Farmers Market President, Gary Smith. He says nearly 150 thousand dollars worth of goods are destroyed.

"I lost one desk that had a value of 450 dollars on it. I lost four hall trees. I lost three hall tree chairs. i lost probably 15 clocks, chiming clocks, mantle clocks, two desks. The list just goes on and on," says Kesterson. He says his losses total nearly seven thousand dollars.

It's a devastating loss for the community who worked tirelessly to get a Farmers Market to Washington County.

Smith says, "we've worked and worked and worked to get this market up and to get where we are today. Now we've gotta start all over."

But starting all over is something Kesterson says isn't possible for him. He lost too much in the fire. "It puts me out of business as far as wood working. I've lost too much to recover from this. I could continue, but I've lost so much money it's not worthwhile."

The majority of vendors at the market are retired, so they sell goods just as a hobby, but they say this loss is still devastating. The vendors are like a family.

"We all care so much about each other and built this together. This has meant something to all of us. There's no one here that's not upset," Long says.

The market will still be open this weekend. The temporary housing is at the grandstand on The Washington County Fairgrounds. The community is encouraged to support the vendors this Saturday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.

During the summer, the building houses The Washington County Fair 4-H expo. Rabbits and poultry are shown by 4-H club members. Fair board members say they hope to have the building rebuilt by fair time this fall. The fair board, already struggling with funds, says it all depends on how much money they will receive for insurance.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, and officials won't say if they are calling it suspicious.

______________________________________________________
UPDATE 4/29/13 9:50 A.M.

Thousands of dollars worth of merchandise - destroyed.

A 25 year old structure - gone.

Fire rips through the Farmers Market building at the Washington County Fairgrounds, claiming it and everything inside.

Marietta Fire Chief C.W. Durham says the call came in just before 6:30 this morning.

The Marietta, Devola and Warren Township Fire Departments responded, as well as the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

The structure was fully involved when firefighters arrived on scene.

They knocked it down in about 30 minutes, but have been on scene all morning.

No one was inside at the time of the fire, but Farmers Market organizers say thousands of dollars worth of merchandise that belonged to the market's 70 vendors was in the building.

The market was open every Saturday morning, year round.

Fair board members say during the fair, it's where the rabbit and poultry shows were held.

The cash-strapped board says they just didn't need this.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.
________________________________________________
Authorities say a fire broke out in the Farmer's Market building at the Washington County Fair Grounds.

They say the building was fully engulfed and the building is a total loss.

Marietta Fire Department, Warren Township Volunteer Fire Department and Devola Volunteer Fire Department all are responding.

A reporter is on the scene.

You can find updates here at thenewscenter.tv.


Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
TheNewsCenter One Television Plaza Parkersburg, WV. 26101 304-485-4588
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 205204101 - thenewscenter.tv/a?a=205204101