Jun 18, 2009: Grand Plans at Eastern Market

WASHINGTON, DC --The temporary East Hall housing merchants displaced by a fire at Eastern Market in April 2007 was closed earlier this week as the businesses there began the move back to the fully-restored historic market, where a grand reopening has been scheduled for Friday, June 26 and DC Mayor Adrian Fenty will cut the ceremonial ribbon at a 10:30 a.m. ceremony.

The temporary structure was opened in August 2007 across from the original market along 7th Street SE on part of the Hine Junior High School playground, which is occupied by The Flea Market at Eastern Market on Sundays.

"While we'll miss having the fresh food market as adjacent neighbors, we're extremely excited about the grand reopening," said Tom Rall, manager of the Sunday flea. "The reopening ceremonies should bring back all the customers to our many businesses, which suffered for many months after the fire.

"We're so excited that we've also decided to spice up our market as well by creating a more festive atmosphere on the Hine School lot on Sundays," Rall continued. "For the first time, we've invited food stands into the market and plan to open a small food court and entertainment area in the next couple of weeks.

FOOD AT THE FLEA Food Court opens
The first three food businesses rolled into The Flea Market at Eastern Market last Sunday for a trial run and all will return Sunday, June 21. They are Micha's Sorbet, Bigg Poppa Kettle Korn and Migue's Magnificent Mini Donuts. Additional foods and beverages are also being added.

Micha's Sorbet will already be familiar to Eastern Market patrons as "Owner Micha Denmark decided to relocate on Sundays from the Farmers' Line, where his stand was well received last season," said Flea Market Communications Director Michael Berman, who is overseeing the food and entertainment additions to the market. Berman praised the "Signature Mango Tropical," one of several flavors out of 80 different sorbets Micha will send to the market each week.

"Bigg Poppa Kettle Korn hails originally from Alaska and brought its concept to the East Coast more than three years ago," said Berman. "They cook in a big kettle fresh on site and use only natural ingredients.

"Migue's donuts are cooked on site with a fryer called a 'Donut Robot," continued Berman. "It's fun to watch as it dollops out little balls of batter, flips them along a conveyor and then drops them into a large tray. They come out fresh, hot, delicious and with no trans fat oils!

"The donuts were a big hit at The Downtown Holiday Market last December," noted Berman, whose Diverse Markets Management (DMM), a company spun off from The Flea Market at Eastern Market in 2005, expects to announce a 5th Annual Downtown Holiday Market in conjunction with the Downtown DC Business Improvement District (DBID) soon.

ENTERTAINMENT AND MORE Downtown in September
Berman also announced recently that DMM will manage "an expanded three-day art market" in conjunction with the 17th Annual Arts on Foot festival, produced this year by DBID in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Quarter Neighborhood Association, on Saturday, September 12 located at 7th and F Streets NW in Downtown DC.

Along with the nearly 100 exhibitor art market, the festival will feature: food sampling courts with 25 - 30 high-end restaurants, Cooking as Art demonstrations with some of downtown's top chefs, a wine area for sampling and seminars, two entertainment stages and a cultural corridor with galleries, theaters, museums and arts organizations.

Following the success of the two-day expansion of the Arts on Foot Art Market in 2008, it will expand to three days from Thursday September 10 through Saturday, September 12, the festival day. The Art Market highlights the work of local, regional and national visual artists. Artists will be selected to exhibit in 13 media categories. All work must be original and completely artist- produced; imports and re-sales are not permitted. Artists are selected by an independent professional jury.
DMM is accepting applications through Monday, July 17.