Story and photos by Trasier Schuyler
In keeping with my passion with propagating and experiencing local fare and culture I took the opportunity while visiting family near Portland to check out the 38th season opening of the Portland Saturday Market.
Local market days are always a treat for me as they usually include a variety of local foods, beverages, music, art and plenty of people watching.
As we neared the market I hurried my pace as my senses detected some serious bluegrass coming from a distant stage and aromas of the culinary treasures that filled the air. The musicians responsible for the head bobbin’, foot stomping beats were from the Jam Grass band “The Student Loan”. This four piece group had the masses dancing, hootin and hollering to songs like Dead Man Walking and Mustache of Justice which is a song about a very unique correctional officer.
We continued wandering the market that stretches down the waterfront and through a few different squares and side streets, which kept visitors from running over each other and allowed different musicians and entertainers to perform their craft without being drowned out by the other artists. I tip my hat to the market directors who did an exceptional job in organizing this event.
Of course food is a huge draw at any event like this and vendors of every kind were working hard at satisfying the drooling mouths of hungry patrons. Hand made Asian noodles with fresh vegetables drew a large crowd as well as Taste Of Poland that had a line that was easily 20 deep. The smell of the Potato Pancakes were enough to nearly cause a riot.
Several of our family’s kids and my mother In law jumped in line for Elephant Ears, a doughy, deep fried sensation that is smothered in cinnamon much like a churro but ten times the larger and in the shape of yes, an elephant ear. The kids are still bouncing off the ceiling. To my dismay the line for the clam chowder was too long to hold my attention but the comments from those who had suffered the wait said it was well worth it.
To wash these savory treats down you might opt for a soft drink, fresh tea, coffee or a fresh glass of lemonade, but I moved towards a booth that I had my eye on from earlier in the day. Portland’s own “Rogue Brewery”. Rogue Brewery has many styles of great beer in their arsenal but today they were pouring an Irish lager, An IPA called Yellow Snow, both sounded tempting but I found myself gravitating to the Chatoe Rogue’s Dirtoir. This is a Black Lager that bursts with flavor and no pretense. The name is a friendly shot at the stereotypical wine snob. Good one guys.
Local artisans displayed their wares through out the market. Organic clothing, Jewelry made from recycled product, paintings and portraits of Portland’s beautiful architecture and natural beauty were very eye catching and show expert craftsmanship and eye for detail.
Two of my favorite booths were Recycled To Art, featuring beautifully designed metal decor that had me reaching for my wallet. The artist is Brian Mock. I’m not big on decorative soaps but the aromatic fragrances and scrumptious design of the Bella Mi Artisan Soaps made me think having my mouth washed out with these soaps might not be that bad. The scents of these hand made soaps were as sweet and rich as they looked.
I do believe people watching is the greatest spectator event of all times. To be sure Portland’s Saturday Market has it’s share of interesting folk to watch. Corner musicians, street performers, parents chasing their children through the fountain and even a handful of nuts, one who proclaimed to be the King of Portland. Wow! I didn’t realize that the city of Portland was a monarchy.
Though the previous forecast called for cold weather and rain, The sun broke through the clouds and the opening day of the Portland Saturday Market was a huge success and enjoyed by all.