The light sounds of live jazz music mingled with splashes and squeals of children cooling off in the fountain at the Augusta Market on the River on Saturday morning.
Shoppers strolled up and down the Eighth Street plaza, perusing produce from local growers, browsing handmade jewelry, nibbling on cupcakes or sipping on locally roasted coffee.
Vicki and Nick Jankovich, of Hephzibah, come several times a year, before it gets too hot.
“Mostly when we see the weather’s so pretty, we want to get out and see what’s going on,” Vicki Jankovich said. “Everybody seems so open and friendly.”
She found a piece of jewelry to give as a gift and was in search of a Scentsy vendor.
“All those people who are fussing about Augusta need to come down here so they can see a brighter side,” she said.
Nearby, Stathia Hammond sat at the rear of her booth, painting flowers on windows.
Underneath her tent were dozens of 12-by-14-inch hand-built framed windows, with painted designs ranging from treehouse families to ladybugs on blades of grass.
“A lot of people say they look like stained glass but prettier,” she said.
This is her second year setting up at the market, but she has been creating the window paintings for about 15 years. She lives in Martinez with her husband, Rick, who builds the frames and cuts the glass.
The Hammonds are at the market most weekends, when they are not at other craft shows. She likes the Saturday market because it’s close and the vendor rates are reasonable.
Roy Thornton enjoys meeting people at his booth. He spoke to passers-by, occasionally in fluent Spanish, as they passed his display of Panama hats.
“For some reason, I like people. I’m not sure why. I’m still debating that one,” he said, and then laughed.
Thornton, who lives in Tignall, Ga., travels to Ecuador to buy the handmade hats from the indigenous people.
“I buy from the people, very, very poor people. I go to their homes. I might get two hats, might get three,” he said. “I never try to bargain them down, and I bring them back and I let people have a really good deal.”
He’s planning a trip in November to buy handmade belts in Guatemala.
Thornton said he woke up at 5 a.m. Saturday to bring his hats to the market. It is the only place he sells them.
“It’s nice. Beautiful. I love the market,” he said. “You see so many different walks of life.”