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East County Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018 1 year ago

Market for entertainment expands

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The Market at the Sarasota Polo Club returns Dec. 5 with more offerings.
by: Amelia Hanks Community Reporter

The key word for The Market at Lakewood Ranch is “more.”

Morgan Bettes, the market’s manager, said 43 or more vendor booths will be available when The Market opens Dec. 5 at the Sarasota Polo Club. About 30 vendor booths operated last year.

The Market also is opening an additional week, going from a 20-week run to 21 weeks through April 24.

“We’re excited about it,” Bettes said of The Market, which had its inaugural season last year. “This is about the community. We’re showcasing things from all around Lakewood Ranch, and even the Players Centre for Performing Arts is coming to promote its shows. We’re a community farmers market, and we’re reflecting that.”

Those who visit The Market will be entertained. Besides live music and special programming, polo demonstrations will be given. Each month will carry a different theme. December will be “Holidays” and will include holiday-themed craft booths. The Dec. 19 market also will include a visit from Santa and carolers.

Once a month, bingo will be featured at the market.

Bettes said the market’s location at the Sarasota Polo Club, in a “relaxed, green space ... like a farm” is a major reason for its success.

“There’s no noise ordinance saying we have to keep it down,” she said with a smile. “There’s no restaurant getting frustrated because we’re setting up right in front of them. We get to string up pretty lights and bring in food trucks. It’s a family atmosphere.”

Bettes expects a loyal following from local residents.

She said it has been a family environment since the market began. 

“We want The Market to have that community family feel,” Bettes said. 

She added Lakewood Ranch is a multigenerational community and the market will reflex that.

Although a few changes have been made and vendors added, Bettes expects smooth sailing.

“By far our biggest advantage is more experience,” she said. “We want to do things better than the previous year and drive more people to The Market.”

The Market averaged approximately 800 visitors a week a year ago. Bettes said she is sure The Market will surpass that this year.

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