Yorktown Market Days at the River

Published 5:05 pm Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Voted Best Farmers Market in Hampton Roads

By Cathy Welch


“Our market vendors and customers have become my extended family,” York County resident Mark Medford said. “It’s all about relationships, customer smiles and vendor success.”

After 32 years as a deputy, Medford retired from the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office before taking over Village Events, LTD with his wife, Pam. Karla Peck is their office assistant, and a few others help when needed. They manage Yorktown Market Days at the River. In its 15th season, the market is located on historic Yorktown’s Chischiak Green on the waterfront.

“I’m blessed to have this opportunity to continue to serve the county and the folks who live and visit here,” he said. “It’s not work. It’s a Saturday each week to really enjoy what life has to offer when you work hard and care for others.”

Village Events produces events and celebrations in Southeastern Virginia, specializing in coordinating events such as farmers’ markets, microbrew/wine festivals, bluegrass festivals, other music festivals and various heritage and ethnic festivals.

“One aspect that separates our farmers’ market from others in the region is its true community feel,” said Kristi Olsen, tourism development manager for York County who helps staff, advertise and provide entertainment for the markets. ”My ongoing goal is to build the market and customer base. I want all of our vendors to be successful.”

Approximately 25 to 35 vendors attend weekly. Yorktown Markets Days Farmers Market is scheduled to take place most Saturdays between 8 a.m. and noon with some markets extended to 3 p.m., from April 11 through Oct. 31, 2020, although it’s likely some of this year’s earlier events will have to be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our waterfront farmers market is one of the most unique in Hampton Roads — offering spectacular views of the York River, live music every week, food trucks, cooking demonstrations and a variety of vendors and artists,” Medford said.

Market visitors can shop for seasonal produce, locally raised meats, baked goods, handmade soaps and candles, honey, gourmet dog treats and a beautiful display of work from local artists. Visitors can talk to farmers from the Peninsula, Gloucester and Northern Neck areas, ranchers, watermen, and food entrepreneurs to learn their techniques for growing, catching and maintaining the highest-quality products.

Yorktown Market Days Farmers Markets include fun, family-friendly themes such as: Go Green Market, Sister Cities French Market, Pirate Invasion Market, Wellness Market, National Farmers Market Week, Fall Festival, First Responders Market,  Paws at the River, Maritime Market, Harvest Festival and the Mistletoe Market.They accept USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Village Events continues to focus on building the market.

“The door is always open for new vendors with local products to apply,” Medford said. “The more diverse our market can be, the more likely customers will find things they enjoy — or try for the first time.”

Village Events belongs to the York County Chamber of Commerce and Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.

“The success of the Market is that it’s a collaborative effort between us, York County, vendors and the community,” Medford said. “York County’s commitment to their events and its investment in marketing is top notch.”

Yorktown Market’s sponsors are State Farm Agent Mark Irwin and Langley Federal Credit Union.

“Season after season, we’ve seen many young entrepreneurs and new businesses dip their toes in the water at Yorktown Market Days,” Olsen said. “By establishing a name for themselves and building a loyal customer base, they go on to open brick-and-mortar locations in the county.”

“Yorktown has a rich history and a beautiful venue for our market. From the local folks to the out-of-town visitors, our market offers everything for everyone,” Medford said. “I love that my Saturday mornings begin at 6 a.m. on the Yorktown waterfront watching the sunrise over the river and having early morning conversations with the vendors as they arrive.”

Village Events, LTD