NORFOLK, Va. — It was a less than ideal temperature to kick things off, but it was still a big day for Lori Golding-Zontini nonetheless.
“I'm trying to contain my excitement, trying not to cry because it took a lot to do this," Golding-Zontini told 13News Now.
The Ghent Farmers Market arrived for the first time this Friday at the corner of Colley Avenue and Spotswood, months after its initial announcement in 2020.
Golding-Zontini, a Norfolk native, is Executive Director of the market as well as several others Farmers Markets across the Hampton Roads area.
"Words can’t describe how happy and how much the community is ready for this," she said.
The vendors and businesses set up beside Blair Middle School are all locally sourced from Virginia and the Hampton Roads area.
“Totally different location for a farmer’s market and I think that’s really cool," Kanisha Haskins-Combs said, whose knitted-goods business "Earthy Child" is just one of the many local ventures a part of the Ghent Farmer's Market.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the normal approach to a farmers market layout.
"Not going to be your typical farmers market, but trying to make this as simple and easy as possible to navigate through," Golding-Zontini said ahead of the kickoff.
The market is limited to one entrance and one exit as a way to mitigate crowd sizes. Directional traffic, hand sanitizing stations, and enforced mask mandates are policies as well.
One volunteer told 13News Now more than 1,100 people had arrived on the market's first night.
It runs on the first and third Fridays of every month from April until September, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.