By CRISTINA JANNEY
The Downtown Hays Market third-annual Farm to Fork dinner is closing in on a sellout.
Only 30 out of 100 tickets remained as of Friday afternoon.
“We want people to have an intimate evening on the Bricks. We want people to have conversations with people they have never met before,” said Sara Bloom, Downtown Hays Development Corp. executive director. “We want them to interact with our Downtown Hays Market vendors who are able to attend. Some of the uniqueness of this event is the local meats and produce used in this meal, and we want people to be able to ask questions about what they are eating and share why they are there.”
The event will be 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12, at the Downtown Hays Pavilion.
Gella’s executive chef Manuel Hernandez will transform food from local producers into a an elegant five-course meals. Bloom said Hernandez really makes the event as he helps serve the food, talks about the ingredients and shares his passion for local produce and ingredients.
Diners will start with a choice of five appetizers, including honey chicken, roasted corn salsa and chips, bacon-wrapped dates, mushroom quesadillas, grilled and chilled veggies, and watermelon and mint salad. The soup course will be cream of asparagus. Then a cantaloupe, jamon, serrano and arugula salad will be served. The entrée will be a paella with sausage, pork, chorizo, chicken and seafood served with saffron rice. Home and pear cardamon cake will be served for dessert.
This will be the first year the dinner will be in the Pavilion.
“To be able to have an outdoor fall event in the Pavilion where the market actually happens and be hosting an event that benefits the market, it is going to be a really unique addition to the event,” Bloom said. “I am really excited to see decorations and the lighting underneath the Pavilion. It is going to be amazing.”
Flower arrangement will be done by Regeena’s Flowers, which may use flowers from Bethesda Place if they are available. Svaty’s Produce will provide miniature pumpkins as gifts to all the guests. Centerpieces will also be coming from Personalize It by Rhiannon.
Music will be provides by a jazz group from Fort Hays State University.
A Celebration Community Church group will be servers this year.
Tickets can be purchased while they last on the DHDC website or at its new location at 1200 Main St.
All proceeds from the event support the marketing fund for the Downtown Hays Market. It allows the market to offer its spaces at no cost to its vendors.
The Downtown Market moved to the new Downtown Pavilion at 10th and Main streets this season, which Bloom said has been a great success.
She said people have loved having the market under the Pavilion instead of across the street out in the sun.
“It has given the market another environment and a special aura to it,” she said. “With it being under the Pavilion, people grab a free cup of coffee, they stay all day, they shop and they talk and it is has really become the gathering place that we have always pictured what the Downtown Hays Market could be.”
More than 60 vendors registered with the market this season with as many as 37 selling at a single market.
The market brought in vendors this year from the Nebraska border to Stafford to west of Colby and from as far east as the Salina area.
“For people to see the value in our market and to drive that far every week on a consistent basis really speaks not only for our market, but for the Hays community,” Bloom said. “It is generating sales tax on a weekly basis, not only from their sales, but they are eating breakfast here. They are eating lunch here. They are getting gas in their tanks before they leave. I think the economic impact of the market is bigger than a lot of people in our community realize. That is really exciting for us, and we can’t wait to see how it is going to grow.”
There will only be five weeks left in the market including this Saturday. The last market Saturday will be Oct. 20. The market is open 7:30 to 11 a.m. Saturdays spring through fall.