MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Cumberland County is still in the red phase under the governor’s order, but one farmer’s market decided to open Sunday, much to the happiness of vendors and customers.
As soon as you drive up, signs ask people to stay six feet apart and wear masks at the Williams Grove Farmers Flea Market.
About 250 vendors and hundreds of people showed up.
“Today was a real good day. People, they were glad to get out,” said Robert Retherford, owner of Retherford’s Produce.
The market is run by the Williams Grove Historical Steam Engine Association.
“We’re not trying to break any rules or laws,” said Tony Thoman, president of the Williams Grove Historical Steam Engine Association. “We’re following recommendations and we felt that we voluntarily closed. We voluntarily opened back up.”
Thoman feels that vendors selling produce and flowers fit into the “essential” category.
Additionally, he said it’s not easy to pay an $8,000 a month mortgage with the market and events having to be canceled.
“We’re having trouble with people signing up for our train show we have in July, so we are fearful that we just can’t function more than through probably October with the funds we have as a non-profit, fully volunteer organization,” Thoman said.
It’s not just Williams Grove struggling financially, but its vendors too.
“There are some vendors here that this is their only income and I’m glad for them it opened,” said vendor Tony Guarno. “I do some other things but it helped me move stock.”
Guarno put up a sign saying “NO MASK NO SERVICE NO WAY.”
“There were a few people that (said) ‘I don’t have to wear a mask’ and you do not have to come anywhere near me or my booth and most everybody handled it that way,” Guarno said.
Other safety measures include plexiglass at the drink stand, more handwashing stations available and no one allowed in the main office.
“As far as I’m concerned, today was a very successful day,” Thoman said. “People were listening. They were following guidelines. We spaced out our vendors as much as we could. We had a good day.”
Thoman says you can expect the flea market to be open from here on out every Sunday from dawn until 2 p.m.