The Dragon Dancers set the tone for the opening day of the Astoria Sunday Market. Colorful, energetic, laughing and noisy.

At the Astoria Parks and Recreation booth, Director Angela Cosby said the dragons came by and buzzed their stall earlier and were great.

She said the department plans to have a booth every Sunday to answer questions about the programs.

"It's nice because, for nonprofits, there is no charge, as long as you are not selling anything," she said. "It's a great spot for us."

"The Northwest Dragon and Lion Dancers had their best performance ever with 24 dancers arriving and really interacting with the crowd," Cyndie Mudge, ASM executive director said. "Their presence is always a special way to kick off opening day."

Inside the booths

At NW Wild Products, James Neva said it was a good first day and the crab and salmon were probably the top sellers. He hopes to be back, but Sunday "was a test day to see how it goes."

Over at Animals Are Wise, Eric Berlin of Rainier said he was paying his taxes, "but slowly." His handcrafted porcelain animal sculptures have been a staple at the market, just like many others.

Regulars such as Brevins Solid Gold Fudge owner Suzy Brevins said she thought it was a little quiet for Mother's Day especially with a cruise ship in port. The stand was bustling right then with marketgoers sampling eggnog or scorpion pepper fudge or any of the many other flavors.

"Everyone is in good spirits," she said.

Speaking of spirits, those were there, too. From Northwest Distillery to Nehalem Bay Winery and Rogue Ales. And, you could pair them with hundreds of food options from cupcakes, crab cakes and cakes to falafels, fish and chips to fried mini donuts.

Then there were fresh fruits, veggies and flowers bursting in their abundance. Plants, shrubs and other plantings were available in all varieties.

'Poor man's portrait'

Uncle Tree (Ron Haydon a longtime Astorian, now of Hammond) has been making silhouettes since around 1985, when his wife wanted one for her nephew's birthday.

"It took about a week," Haydon said, but he's been doing it ever since.

"My market is kids, so when school's out, I get busy. Right now it's hit or miss."

Haydon explained the term "silhouette" came from √Čtienne de Silhouette, a French finance minister who overtaxed the people to the degree his name became synonymous with cheap. " The silhouette art was called the "poor man's portrait," Haydon explained.

Poor or not, it may be a dying art. Haydon estimates there are fewer than 100 silhouette artists in the United States.

14 years running

In all, there were 140 vendors in this 14th season, with 10 in the food court and local folk band The Brownsmead Flats playing, Mudge said. There were 34 new booths this year, with about half showing on opening day.

Mudge estimates around 5,000 people ambled the aisles Sunday, based on the flow of foot traffic and compared to other cruise ship days. No word on the number of four-legged critters, as ASM is one of the few dog-friendly markets around. But sightings included a standard poodle, old-English sheepdog and maybe a Welsh terrier (shameless plug for our pup).

"We always get an amazing and supportive and enthusiastic crowd opening day," Mudge said.

Sawdust and Other Wooden Things vendor Jim Williams from Vancouver, Wash., said "Good weather, good traffic is always nice for the vendors, and the cruise ship helps." The Seven Seas cruise chip Navigator was in town Sunday.

"We have a great variety of vendors this season, complementing the older, established vendors," Mudge said. "The sun! The Dragon Dancers! The awesome vendors! The enthusiastic shoppers! This was truly one of our best lineups of vendors. The shoppers were wonderful and as always very supportive."

This story originally appeared in Daily Astorian.




Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.