But the ceremony may not have been the main attraction: The market was bustling, with shoppers perusing stands offering everything from vegetables and flowers to honey and baked goods.
The sun beats down, and people crowd under the large, open-air pavilion to get some shade and check out what's for sale. This market has been running for about 10 years, and used to be held at the fairgrounds. Everyone here seems to agree that this new pavilion is a big improvement.
Harold Boomhauer owns the Red Barn Farm Market and the Woolly Sheep Farm in Rutland Center. He said he always did good business at the old location, but it wasn't without some negatives. “The tents blow away in the middle of things, and the rain pounds you, and the weather really beats us up, and the customers, too.” He says it takes a lot away from the market, “and having us be able to be here in this location, it eliminates a lot of fighting with tents and weather, and it's so much more convenient for people.”
The new pavilion was finished last month and includes restrooms, benches and trees, and also houses a bandstand. It's behind many Public Square buildings right downtown.
Gail Parsons is shopping for corn and other veggies. She says she loves the new market, that it’s more “personable” than the old one. “I used to go to the fairground, and it seemed like we had to go all over the place to find where they were. Now, we have one location. We have all the wonderful parking where it's very convenient, and I just think it's been a great addition to Watertown.”
City councilmember Roxanne Burns turned up for the brief ceremony. The pavilion was the last piece of a larger project to revitalize Watertown's downtown, and, she says, “we're just so pleased to be here and to see it being utilized right away.”
The project included new benches, ornamental lighting and paving on downtown streets. Burns says she hope the market will inspire other activities downtown: “as you can see, it's a hot day but it's beautiful, we're overlooking the river, there's plenty of parking here, and it's very handicapped-accessible as well, which is, of course, important.”
After the interview, Burns said she had her eye on some peaches, and she disappeared into the crowd with the rest of the shoppers.