Excitingly, Experience Old Town Warrenton (EOTW) received a 2021 VMS Merit Award for Best Outdoor Placemaking Project, which recognizes local Main Street programs or municipalities that have designed and implemented attractive and dynamic improvements to enhance outdoor spaces that build community / support businesses during the pandemic.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the fate of farmers markets everywhere was unknown, and ensuring continued access to healthy, locally-grown food would require new and creative solutions. EOTW worked closely with the Town of Warrenton to create a vibrant farmers market that offered a mental reprieve for local residents and quickly became a special place to gather in a safe environment with neighbors and friends, while promoting camaraderie, comfort and connection. Apart from fresh meats, produce and handcrafted goods, the market featured live cooking demonstrations, which provided an interactive experience for market goers. Live music, performed by local musicians, created a welcoming atmosphere that made people want to linger longer. Children’s activities, ranging from scavenger hunts to fun crafts, made families feel included and as though they belonged downtown. While a lively pedestrian market was flourishing, EOTW also considered those wishing to remain in their vehicles and created a hybrid option where customers could pre-order and drive-through, making certain that everyone could experience all that the Warrenton Farmers Market had to offer.
Due to these and other placemaking efforts, the Warrenton Farmers Market has seen crowds of over 1,000 individuals on a regular basis, while adhering to social distancing and safety guidelines. In fact, the market has been so successful that several vendors have opened businesses in Old Town Warrenton / partnered alongside existing merchants to sell their products!
Click here to view the recorded 2021 VMS Merit Award presentation!