Diné artist Robert Lansing works on a piece of pottery while selling his wares at the first Market on Center event in Moab. The Market on Center will continue on the first and third Thursdays in August and September outside Moab City Hall. [Murice D. Miller / Moab Sun News]

“I’ve been daydreaming about a market in front of city hall,” said Moab Mayor Emily Niehaus.

“I recognized that we have an incredible asset: the front lawn, Center Street, the shade the trees provide,” she said.

The daydream became a reality on Thursday, July 23 after Moab Arts and Recreation Center staff held the year’s first Market on Center. Stretching along Center Street in front of Moab City Hall (217 E. Center St.), over 14 interesting and diverse vendors sold pottery, food and more. The Market will return on the first and third Thursdays for the next two months – Aug. 6 and 20, Sept. 3 and 17 – from 5 to 8 p.m.

Liz Holland, Arts and Special Events manager at the MARC and Market on Center organizer, said the first market had vendors selling wares as various as locally grown produce, salsa, kimchi and kombucha, and artisan crafts – and she’d love to see more vendors sign up to participate.

“The more, the merrier,” she said, adding that she’d like to see food trucks and hot food items sold at the market.

She also encouraged “anybody with a garden that has an abundance of produce they want to sell” to register to be a vendor.

Holland said the city is following all the guidelines set by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food to keep the market environment safe for vendors and shoppers, including those created to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Neihaus emphasized that masks and social distancing are required for vendors and visitors at the Market.

Niehaus said that as she walked around last week’s market, she saw “a lot of smiling eyes” and heard “words of gratitude” from community members who appreciated the opportunity to mingle and purchase local goods.

She also joked that, at the end of the first market, a monsoon rainstorm inspired everyone to clean up quickly.

“It was kind of a dramatic end,” she said, “but the market was really nice.”

Neihaus has big plans for the area when public health precautions can safely end. She said she’d like to see all of Center Street “bustling” with market activity, including multiple forms of live entertainment and a children’s activity booth.

She imagined a future market event in which the adjacent basketball court would serve as an outdoor stage for community theatre while a musical trio performed on steps of Moab City Hall. She acknowledged, however: “this beautiful vision is only possible once we get through the pandemic.”

For more information on the market and becoming a vendor, visit moabarts.org/market-on-center, or contact the MARC directly by calling 435-259-6272 or sending an email to marcinfo@moabcity.org.

Open air event offers local food, artisan crafts and more

When: Aug. 6 and 20, Sept. 3 and 17 from 5 to 8 p.m.

Where: East Center Street from 200 East to the Grand County Library

For more info, go to www.moabarts.org/market-on-center