Hundreds of guests braved a hot sun to attend the third and final Saturday Farmer's Market on the memorial gardens lawn behind the Columbia County Library.
Patrons kept cool, sipping frozen lemonades while soothing sounds of a gentle guitar filled the air. Several vendors were on hand selling fresh produce, house plants, locally made jewelry and gifts and original art.
Business was good, said Ben F. Hines Jr., the owner of Harvest is Ripe Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, who was operating two stands.
Hines, who said he also operates a permanent stand in Augusta on Wheeler Road at Walton Way Extension, brought scores of fresh tomatoes, peppers, onions, cucumbers, corn and watermelon.
He said his employees were picking fresh melons and cantaloupes from fields in Williston and Beaufort, S.C., at 8 the night before.
"It's important for people to know they're getting local (produce) - that it's locally grown," Ben F. Hines said.
Jennifer Finch, of Evans, brought her 18-month-old daughter, Julia, to the market. While Mom was there to browse produce, Julia had her eyes set on Duckster, a yellow 5-foot-6 plush costume character greeting children at the market.
"We've really enjoyed it," Jennifer said as Julia led Duckster toward a melon stand above the amphitheater. "We hope they do it much more often."
The farmer's market is finished for the year, but it will return next spring, said Brooke Willis, a community events specialist for the county.
"We've had a really great response (from the community)," Willis said, adding that the farmers market on Saturday was busiest in the morning.
She said guests have provided valuable input that county community and leisure services staff with take into consideration next year.
"The people who have attended want to see it grow with more vendors and for us to do it earlier in the day and to have it a little more regularly," she said.
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