The Cortez Third Thursday Market started on the first day of summer with a late afternoon sun shining on a big crowd and more vendors than ever.
This is the third year the Cortez municipal government and Retail Enhancement Association have teamed up to organize a monthly arts, crafts and food market in Montezuma Park.
CREA executive director Mark Drudge said the event has 35 to 40 vendors this summer, about double the number that signed up last year.
On Thursday, the park was full by 5:30 p.m., as dozens of people lined up for ice cream and barbecue while North Carolina bluegrass band Songs for the Road played in the background.
Drudge said he was pleasantly surprised by the size of the crowd and the number of vendors, considering Thursday was the first event of the summer.
“People are recognizing the name and are inquiring about us,” he said.
He also thanked KRTZ Radio for its support in organizing and advertising the event.
Several vendors returned this year, like Moose and More ice cream, which handed out free scoops on Thursday, and WildEdge Brewing Collective. But there were plenty of new faces as well, such as the Wigglin’ Pig food truck, which attracted an equally large crowd. Children’s librarian Laura McHenry handed out information about the Cortez Public Library’s summer programs, and staff from The Piñon Project had a booth to advertise their services.
But a large part of the crowd was focused on listening to Songs for the Road. Drudge said the city was “lucky to have (the band),” which tours all over the country. The group had played at the Osprey Packs headquarters earlier in the day.
The Third Thursday Market will return monthly through September. Next month’s live music will be provided by the Montezuma County one-man band, Hurricane Jake, followed by Steelhouse Junkies and the Cannondolls. All Third Thursday events start at 5 p.m. in Montezuma Park.
Organizations can still sign up for vendor booths by contacting CREA at 970-564-4095, but Drudge said space is limited.