Fresh and Fun: Astoria Sunday Market

Cyndi MudgeWe’ve weathered another winter here on the North Coast, and folks is itchin’ to get out, connect, and enjoy those glimpses of blue sky. The Astoria Sunday Market (ASM) gears up in May to usher us into the summer.

Market goers will find the usual fantastic transformation of Twelfth Street, beginning Mother’s Day Weekend. Up to two hundred booths will feature the crafts, foods, baked goods, flowers and produce that we’ve all come to enjoy. Interested in one-stop shopping? In addition to all the great items available at the Market, many of the downtown merchants are open on Sundays because of the Market. You can get your groceries, lunch, office supplies, new lamp, and a birthday present for Uncle Bob without heading out to a box store. Local economy thrives and everybody’s happy.

“The Market started to revitalize historic downtown,” ASM Director Cyndi Mudge explains. “In the beginning there were maybe only 30 booths, and most downtown merchants were closed Sundays. The ASM has added vibrancy to the community and downtown core; we’ve succeeded in bringing $137,000 into downtown projects.” Recipients of this boon include Liberty Theater, the Commercial Fishermen’s Festival, Garden of Surging Waves,  Astoria Music Festival and Astoria Regatta, among many others. In addition, funds from Astoria Sunday Market have helped purchase bicycles for the Astoria Police Department, repave 12th Street, resurface the downtown public parking lot, purchase streetscape planters and benches for the downtown plaza, and help underwrite exterior repairs to Liberty Theater.

The growth of the Market is not only evident by the number of booths and foot traffic. ASM has created popular programs such as the Scavenger’s Feast and the Young Entrepreneur’s Club and Market Biz Kidz tent. These programs benefit local businesses and sellers, and foster future cottage industry vendors by empowering kids to make, grow, and sell their own products. The music scene is expanding too, with 18 local and regional bands slated to perform at the food court—as always the music is free and an integral part of the Market experience. One of Mudge’s favorite aspects of the ASM that she encouraged when she came on board as Director in 2008 are the busking possibilities.

“I grew up in Seattle with the Public Market in Pike’s Place,” she says. “The busking was fantastic there, a real part of the thriving market scene. I wanted to have that here. Now it’s growing and we had everything last year from free hugs to high school musicians to folks traveling out from Portland.” ASM does have a free but required busking permit that goes over the courtesy rules of performing at the market. Mudge asks folks to contact her if they want to busk. “The good, bad and the ugly, they all add to the fun of the Market in ways you’d never imagine,” Mudge laughs.

De Asis FarmsAstoria Sunday Market is in its 11th year. Rising gas prices have seen a change in the demographic of original vendors, and some folks are retiring after a long run with the Market. New vendors have come to take their place, and the mix of familiar with the unknown keeps the Market fresh. ASM also runs a cruise ship market through the cruising season that contributes to the local economy, and offers another opportunity to vend during weekdays. The Winter Market keeps others selling in off-season months.

“The Market(s) are a huge community asset. A community square for locals; a happy weekly celebration and a great place to meet your neighbors. Our vendors are like a family, they take care of each other and support each other. The Market is a joyful, compassionate environment that contributes to the vibrancy of our region.” Clearly Cyndi Mudge loves her job.
Astoria Sunday Market runs May 8 through October 9. The Market is open from 10 am to 3 pm. Contact Cyndi Mudge: Tel: 503-325-1010. Web:
Kid Vendor at MarketProgram Spotlight

Baked Alaska Chef Chris Holen commands the Scavenger’s Feast, sending participants on a chase through the Market for specific ingredients. When adventurers return to Mise En Place Kitchenware with the goods, Holen co-creates a fabulous Sunday meal. The monthly Scavenger’s Feast is $45 per person with a portion of the proceeds benefitting Astoria Sunday Market. On September 4 one child gets in free with a paying adult for a family scavenged feast. To make reservations for The Scavenger’s Feast call Mise En Place Kitchenware at 503-325-7414 or stop by and sign-up in person. Feast Dates: Sunday, June 5, July 10, July 31, August 21, September 4 (bring kiddos), and September 18.

And at the Market Biz Kidz Tent, the young ‘uns are busy learning what it takes to make and grow their own products and sell them at the market. In mid-June, the participants of the Young Entrepreneur’s Club will vend their wares at the Market at the Kidz Tent. This opportunity is supported by the Sunday Market, Clatsop Co. 4-H, Western Oregon Waste, and Wauna Federal Credit Union.

By Elia Seely

eating the coast/food groove is a bright new slice in HIPFiSH showcasing the burgeoning local food scene in the columbia pacific region - from farm/sea to fork, community gardening, growing, consuming, eating out, and raising a living - stay tuned and watch as we nurture and grow this section in sync with the locovore movement . Eating the Coast Editor
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