COMMUNITY • BY SARAH KRAUT
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The weather is beautiful, the days are long and spring is upon us; all of which means the time has come for the annual Fenton Street Market. Despite the long, hard battle that had to be fought for its return, Silver Spring’s favorite Saturday street fair is back for yet another year of a community tradition.
FSM, which uses county-owned space on the Silver Spring Veterans Plaza, almost had to pull the plug this year. When market founder Hannah McCann submitted her application to the county for this year, the county pushed back and requested submission of a proposal as well as participation in a competitive bidding process that would go through the office of procurement. The terms made it nearly impossible to run the market, and the future of FSM looked grim for a while.
But when one door closes, a window opens somewhere else.
“The county revised the requirements, so we submitted a proposal,” said the market’s new director Megan Moriarty. “We were chosen for negotiation and we found out a week-and-a-half ago that we were awarded the space.”
The market and county entered into an agreement that will allow FSM use of the plaza for the next three years.
Moriarty receives nothing for the work she puts into the market. A lot of the new specifications increased production costs immensely, on top of the hundreds of hours of negotiating she spent with the county. For her it’s all worth it though.
“For me it’s exciting because I loved the idea of a community based market that supported local entrepreneurs, like myself when I was trying to start my jewelry business,” said Moriarty. “To be able to provide that to my neighbors in an amazing opportunity.”
The market was started with two goals in mind: To support local, small businesses and to create strong community ties. The fact that Silver Spring can do all that on a Saturday morning is a display of what a tight knit community is all about.
“I’m excited to be able to continue that tradition and hopefully grow the market,” said Moriarty. “Plus, knowing that the negotiations are over for a while is great,” she added, laughing.
This year’s market should bring the same exciting features as customers have seen in the past. There will be a great mix of vendors, as always, with Montgomery County local business owners selling their wares. Free spaces are available for nonprofits to reach community members and raise awareness of the important work that they do. And community programming and musical performances will be ongoing, for the perfect cherry on top of the fun, engaging Saturday summer activity.
This year’s market will go from April 28 to October 27. Vendor applications are still open. Visit fentonstreetmarket.com for more information.