Several months ago, the new Market House sounded its opening bell for the very first time and visitors were greeted with an entirely new market featuring a slew of products. And now, new programming at the Market House puts you right in the middle of all of the action.
As Bill mentioned in his blog, the Market House (thanks to Forrest Mars, Jr.’s very generous contribution), new items for sale include fresh produce, seeds, and even snacks. These are items that would have been found in an authentic market of 18th-century Williamsburg. And there’s more to it than just happening upon the Market House while you’re walking down Duke of Gloucester Street (which is really wonderful in and of itself). Try your hand at arriving by bus if you can. Yes, I know buses weren’t a thing in the 18th century, but hear me out.
Denise Chiera, Store Manager for the Greenhow Group and head honcho of the Market House, told me visitors arriving by bus will have the stage set for them via audio as they approach the new bus stop, which is on Francis Street directly behind the market. Once you get off the bus, you’ll be greeted by costumed interpreters who will talk with you and get you ready to take in all the sights and sounds. When I stopped by to see what was happening, I was greeted by an interpreter who showed me a game! She told me they interact with everyone who gets off the bus and play games with anyone who wishes to.
Then it’s time to get in on the action. You never know who you may run into at the Market House at any given time!
“Often you may come across a musician, a local shop keeper checking out the wares of the market, even a silhouette painter,” Denise said. All costumed interpreters are welcome to stop by any time, so it’s entirely possible to run into James Madison or Hannah Powell looking for a specific item. And who did I run into at the market? Miss Powell!
While at the Market House, you may see products arrive by ox cart, game play, scenes among interpreters, and other engaging activities in which you can participate. You aren’t just a spectator. You are talking with the merchants, other customers, a butcher who may be selling his products “outside the rules of the market,” and playing games. And if you’re there either very early or later in the day, you may even get to ring the bell signaling the market is open or closed.
The Market House is open seven days a week and carries a wide variety of products. In addition to the produce, the market also has household items, clothing, toys and games, pickled vegetables, salt-cured ham, and even bacon for sale!
Every day brings an entirely new experience and will take you straight back to the 18th century. We pride ourselves on authenticity, and you’re going to get it at the Market House.
What are your experiences at the new Market House? Share them with me in the comments!