Old Town Clovis Hosts First Friday Night Farmers Market of the Year

The Old Town Clovis (OTC) Friday Night Farmers Market is an event loved by many throughout the community. For dozens of years, the farmers market has helped support various community-based businesses and allowed vendors to share and sell their products to the people of Clovis and Fresno.

With live music heard throughout the streets of OTC, families and friends couldn’t help but dance and celebrate the first Friday Night Farmers Market of the year.

President of the Business Organization of Old Town Clovis (BOOT), Cora Shipley, said she was excited to be back in OTC to help organize this year’s farmers market which will be taking place every Friday from April 30 to October 30 of 2021.

On Wednesday, April 28, three days before the big celebration, Shipley said, “We’re really excited. The weather is going to cooperate, and I think our farmers are ready to go [and] a lot of our specialty vendors are coming back. I think it’s going to be a nice evening in Old Town.”

This year’s farmers market began a few weeks earlier than previous events despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We usually don’t start it until the second week of May, [but] we moved it up because so many people were anxious to come,” Shipley said.

The farmers market had a total of 50 different vendors at Friday’s event with people from the community lining the streets, all eager to get out of their homes after the latest COVID-19 restriction updates.

Three vendors that attended the event on Friday were Made by Rae, Bread and Butter and Cassy’s Confections.

Rae Sweet is the owner of a clay and resin accessory business known as Made by Rae.
“I’ve been doing clay since probably 2018, but I picked up resin and got more into clay around the pandemic because I needed to find something to do,” Sweet said.

This is her second year hosting a booth at the market and Sweet said she’s excited to see new vendors and more people attending the event since the start of the pandemic.

“I grew up around this area of Clovis and I actually like that it’s small. It feels more like a community…it feels like family,” she said.

Mark Sanchez is the owner and pastry chef of his family-owned business Bread and Butter and was another vendor at the farmers market on Friday.

Sanchez has been attending the market for close to five years selling homemade breads, pastries, Filipino desserts and custom cakes.

“We are very happy that the farmers market here in Clovis is open,” Sanchez said. “We are very thankful for them [the locals] because they’ve been constant, constant supporters for business, especially local businesses.”

For Madalyn Davis and her family, this was their first time running a booth for their cookie baking business Cassy’s Confections, which was named after her younger sister Cassidy.

“Cassy actually has a rare form of cerebral palsy, and she has a hard time finding activities that she’s able to participate in, but she loves to bake,” Davis said. “We decided that in order to kind of encourage her to continue her passion, that we’d open up a small family business to support her cookies.”

As long-term attendees of the farmers market, Davis was happy that they were able to attend this year’s event as both vendors and customers.

“It’s really great to be out here with our friends and our neighbors and it’s really cool to support each other,” she said.

“I love that, you know, considering that we spent a year locked down, it’s just really nice to see new faces, even if they’re masked. It’s nice to see old friends and support each other.”

For Clovis locals Charlie Janiel and Charlotte Manchester, the two have been attending the OTC Farmers Market for around 30 years and this is their second outing since receiving their COVID-19 vaccinations.

“We’ve both been vaccinated so we’re feeling safer,” Manchester said.

Janiel continued and stated, “We went to the rodeo last week, so that was our first outing…and the City of Clovis has been really great about supporting all these businesses throughout all of this so we’ve supported those businesses as well.”

BOOT President Shipley said that what makes the OTC Farmers Market special is the family, friendly atmosphere it brings to the City of Clovis.

“Our vendors and our merchants welcome everyone to town. We love to have people in town on our streets whenever we, the Business Organization of Old Town is sponsoring it or somebody else,” Shipley said. “We just love to have people in town and to show what old town means to us.”

The OTC Friday Night Farmers Market will take place consecutively every Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Pollasky between 3rd and 7th street until October 30.

To support local vendors, be sure to make your way into OTC next Friday for another night filled with great food, great music and great people.

Halle Sembritzki was born in the small Swedish village of Kingsburg, California and graduated from Kingsburg High School in 2017. She now attends Fresno State and will graduate with her Bachelor’s in Multimedia Journalism in spring 2021. She aspires to use her voice as an outlet for those who can’t use their own and hopes to educate the public on important news topics happening within her community and the country.