When Michelle Baggett began organizing the Friday Night Markets on Celina’s Historic Square, she was sure she did not want a bounce house.
“I wanted there to be rules and guidelines,” she said. “I want to be able to go and have a glass of wine and not see a bounce house. I want to be able to go listen to some live music and not see a bounce house.”
Instead, Baggett said the atmosphere of the Friday Night Market allows kids to think of things to do such as throwing a football, playing outdoor checkers or starting a game of tag.
These are among the few guidelines that make up the Celina’s Friday Night Markets. The biggest requirement says all products must be handmade, homemade or homegrown.
While other markets might allow vendors from big businesses, Baggett said the Friday Night Market brings support to small businesses. Vendors bring such products as homemade soaps, pickles and produce.
Chase Cook of Cook’s Farm and Ranch said they joined the market to get the word out about their pasture-raised pork, farm-fresh eggs, in-season vegetables and more. He said the market’s atmosphere gives a good mood.
“The community and the people that came back every week, talking about how good it was and always saying they wanted to contribute and support us,” Cook said. “It’s getting better and better every year.”
Cook’s products are raised without soy or genetically modified products, he said. The animals are not fed with corn or grain.
“Nowadays, there’s more and more people that are allergic to soy and genetically modified foods,” Cook said. “It’s better for the animals, too. Better raised animals gives you better food.”
Baggett said keeping the restrictions of handmade, homemade or homegrown foods makes the market unique compared to other events that allow larger businesses. She said this brings a focus to small businesses and brings the community together.
“That’s what I love,” she said. “I love seeing the community getting together and reaping the benefits from your neighbor, basically.”
The market has grown over time from taking up just one part of the square to taking up both sides, Baggett said. Next steps include looking at bringing more food options and possibly having the market run year-round. This would depend on what vendors want to do, she said.
“Because really, I mean, it’s about them, and if they don’t want to be at the market in December, February, January, then there’s no need to have it,” she said.
For now, residents have three more dates to check out the handmade, homemade and homegrown goods in the square.
“It’s a fun, family-friendly market,” Baggett said. “Bring a lawn chair, bring a blanket, bring a football, come down and set up and bring an empty belly. Come hungry, leave happy.”