Market on Central returns

Brenda Laufersweiler, of Fort Dodge, was busy Saturday morning looking through the green plants available from Granny T’s Garden at the first Market on Central of the season.

The market event, which features food, arts and crafts, produce and even the occasional wandering ghost from the Oakland Cemetery Walk, has been a regular event for her summer weekends.

“I’ve not missed a market,” she said of her perfect attendance. “I enjoy it. It’s something fun to do.”

She wasn’t looking for anything in particular as she toured the vendor tents stretching out for three blocks.

“I just want to see what they have,” she said. “I like the variety.”

One of the new things that visitors will find this year are handcrafted leather goods made by Tim Morgan, of Kamrar, who said Saturday was his first time at the Market as a vendor.

Morgan, who has been unemployed for a number of years, decided to turn his nearly lifelong hobby into a business venture.

“I can’t just sit on my hands and wish for somebody to give me a job,” he said. “I had to make my own opportunity.”

Morgan makes a variety of leather products that include wallets, handbags, belts, Bible covers, bracelets and trinket trays.

He tries to customize his work to suit the client. He’s recently designed a purse with pockets on the inside where he said women prefer them.

“I love the ability to create for a need,” he said.

He’s currently working on his own design for a smartphone holster that he said will be a major improvement on the available plastic clip on holders.

He also said his work holds up. To prove it, he’ll gladly show you his own wallet. It’s 8 years old and has spent all of that time in his pocket. Yes, it looks new.

Jill Lawler , of Fort Dodge, was at Market on Central looking for items to take home.

She’s a fan.

“This is the nicest new thing Fort Dodge has done,” she said.

Lawler has made many purchases through the last several seasons.

“I’ve bought pictures, I’ve bought ceramics, I’ve bought jewelry,” she said. “They’re from local businesses too.”

In addition to shopping, she said she also enjoys meeting and seeing friends at the event.

Cheryl O’Hern, chair of the Market on Central Committee, said about 40 vendors made it to Saturday’s Market.

She said that the only shortage was produce, mostly due to the delaying growing season caused by the cold, wet spring.

She also said that the Market has become a regional destination for both vendors and customers.

“We had people from Omaha, Iowa City and Grundy Center today,” she said, “They’re traveling a few hours.”

Matt Wilson, of Fort Dodge, has his own method of tackling the Market.

“I go straight for the food,” he said.

This does not prevent him from being a gentleman and carrying the purchases of others, although he may define the bag’s contents a bit differently.

“It’s some smelly stuff and some flag holders,” he said.

Another bonus for those attending the first Market was getting to meet some of the ghosts from the annual Oakland Cemetery Walk as they strolled Central Avenue.

One of those, George Ringland, was portrayed by Fort Dodge attorney Steve Kersten.

Like any good actor, Kersten stayed in character.

“People are walking by my great-grandfather’s building,” he said. “He built that.”

The structure in question was the McQuilken Building on the south side of the 800 block of Central Avenue.

Ringland had one other comment.

“The Smeltzer house, that should be the Ringland house; I built that,” he said.

Like many other events, timing is everything- the rain began to fall just as the vendors were starting to pack up their tents at 1 p.m.