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From girly knives to painted rocks, Market Days has it all

By Carolina Astrain
Oct. 24, 2012 at 5:24 a.m.


IF YOU GO

• WHAT: Market Days on the Square

• WHEN: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 7

• WHERE: 201 Seventh Street, Bay City, TX 77414

• CONTACT: 979-245-8333

BY THE NUMBERS

$35 - To rent a space for a booth

$40 - To rent a space with electricity

$50 - For the deposit

64 - Vendor spots on the square

All it took was one simple question.

"Can I borrow your knife?"

That led Wallace Kelly to ask his wife Dianna, "Why don't you get your own?"

From there, the retired West Columbia residents teamed up and decided to start selling knives at Bay City's monthly community bazaar.

Market Days, or Market Day as some say, is the third Saturday of each month but was suspended in July and August to allow space for the new oak saplings in the town square to grow.

"This is pretty much where we started," said Dianna Kelly, who runs the business. "We enjoy the people."

Kelly noticed more knives being made for women in catalogs and that the event was devoid of products for men.

"We're out of pink handle knives," Kelly said.

The square was sprinkled with curious spectators who had come from as far away as Louisiana for the market.

Arkansas transplant Sandra Cotts said although she is far away from home, she's making the best of her move to Texas with her 18-year-old daughter Hannah.

Saturday was her first time at the market.

"I live in Richmond," Cotts said. "I looked up craft festivals online for this weekend."

At her booth, Cotts had a variety of painted rocks on sale.

"I started making these two months ago," Cotts said. "I studied a lady's work some years in Arkansas."

Next to the budding artist, her daughter, a college freshman, had set up shop with a pallet and brush.

"She's a college kid," the mother explained. "She's already getting other face painting job offers."

Vendors at Market Days are required to set up before 8:30 a.m. and to remain on the square until the close of the event at 4 p.m. or they'll be denied future renting, according to the Bay City Chamber of Commerce's website.

As the sun began to dim to a faint gold, middle school student Isaiah Castaneda found himself staring at a blue, yellow and black Bay City High Blackcat painted rock.

He had been traveling with a posse of friends through the square before getting stuck at the rock art booth.

A few dollars later, Castañeda held his future high school's mascot proudly in his palms.

Seslee Skrabanek, 23, is the office manager and coordinator of Market Days.

"It's a long tradition," Skrabanek said. "It was started to give people in the community something to do in town."

Because of lost sales opportunities in July and August, Skrabanek said their October vendor spots went fast.

"We had to turn about 10 vendors away," Skrabanek said. "The trees cut back 14 spaces."

Before the saplings were planted, the square had about 78 spaces available for rent for a total of about $85 - $35 for the rental and $50 for the deposit.

The Chamber of Commerce raised about $2,240 on booths Saturday that Skrabanek said goes to the maintenance and operations budget.

"It's great for the community because it encourages people to shop locally," said Chamber of Commerce Vice President Irene Bishop.

Back at the knife stand, the retired couple remind passing customers that the holidays are near.

Elegantly fashioned homemade pens stood out among the mini-axes and machine gun knife handles.

The Marine veteran said it takes him somewhere between four to two hours to make a pen out of specially ordered wood from overseas.

"It's a good distraction for me," Kelly said. "It keeps me out of her hair."

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