About the Marketplace

The Story of the Huttleston Marketplace

Beginning in June 2008, the Town of Fairhaven Sustainability Committee successfully operated a small, traditional farmers market on the lawn of the Fairhaven Academy Building next to Fairhaven High School for three hours a week on Sunday afternoons in the summer. Run by a group of dedicated volunteers, the market vendors sold fresh produce, baked goods, cheese, eggs, honey, flowers and a limited amount of handmade crafts. On occasion, local musicians performed and farmers sometimes brought small animals for children to see. In October 2017, that market was closed after a run of ten years.

In June 2018, inspired by the earlier farmers market and the short-lived Craft-O-Rama pop-up craft shows in downtown New Bedford, the Fairhaven Office of Tourism began the Huttleston Marketplace on Saturdays at the same location. The idea expanded the farmers market concept with the addition of more arts and crafts booths as well as vendors of antiques, vintage collectibles, and locally produced food products. From the beginning, the market opted not to accept any sellers of brand-name direct sales products that some other markets and “craft fairs” allow. To promote variety, limits were placed on how many booths could sell similar crafts.

The plans for the new market were heavily promoted on social media and with paid advertising. The Office of Tourism had no budget to operate the market, so donations from the vendors were solicited to offset the cost of operation. On opening day, June 16, 2018, there were thirty-two booths set up. The following week there were thirty-six vendors. Starting out at six hours each Saturday, the hours were reduced to five—from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The market ran for twelve weeks that first season, ending on Labor Day weekend. While the marketplace was open, the Fairhaven Historical Society opened its museum on the second floor of the Academy Building to the public. The market also served as a draw to the Office of Tourism Visitors Center at the same location.

In 2019, many of the first season’s vendors returned and the market grew in size to an average of about fifty booths a week. The length of the season was extended from the beginning of June to the middle of September. As word began to spread, the Huttleston Marketplace attracted more shoppers and more vendors. Following the 2019 season, the Office of Tourism worked with the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources to get the Huttleston Marketplace officially designated as a farmers market.

Plans for the third season were well underway, when the Covid-19 pandemic hit the US in March, threatening to close down events such as the Huttleston Marketplace for reasons of public health and safety. Fortunately, the farmers market designation by the MDAR kept the market alive when Governor Charlie Baker classified farmers markets as “essential” under his emergency order. With safety protocols in place the Huttleston Marketplace was able to open in June 2020. Because all of the regular craft fairs and festivals were cancelled that summer, the Huttleston Marketplace picked up more vendors than ever. It grew to having more than 65 booths on some of the Saturdays.

That growth continued through the 2021 and 2022 seasons, with many vendors signing up for their fourth or fifth season. The number of marketplace weeks was expanded so that it now runs from late May through the end of September. The  physical area of the market was enlarged to make room for more booths, by adding ten spaces around the Memorial Brick Park. This allowed as many as 77 vendors to set up, more than doubling the number of booths that were at the opening weeks of the 2018 season. Altogether, nearly 200 different vendors from throughout the region participated in the 2022 Huttleston Marketplace. For 2023, additional booth spaces were added, allowing up to 95 vendors to set up each week.

Now entering its seventh season, the marketplace continues to provide an opportunity for the operators of many creative micro-businesses to have a regular space to sell their products. It also gives many shoppers throughout the area a handy location to find unique, locally made products that support small business enterprises. Some of the vendors who started with booth here subsequently opened their own shops, grew into larger businesses, and continue to take part here, too. It has build community spirit and many new friendships. Many people think of it as a family.

The Huttleston Marketplace is the brainchild of Fairhaven native Christopher Richard, who is the market manager and who has served the Town of Fairhaven as its Director of Tourism since 1996. For more information about the Huttleston Marketplace, you may contact Chris by emailing FairhavenTours@fairhaven-ma.gov or calling 508-979-4085.


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