ST. GEORGE — From butterflies encased in glass to pint-sized veggies and homemade doggy delights, this new market is lighting up Wednesday nights like a neon sign in Vegas.

Harry and Summer Altena, founders of the Wednesday Night Market, pose for a photo in front of their booth, St. George, Utah, March 6, 2024 | Photo by Jessi Bang, St. George News

“We wanted to build an event where people wanted to come and hang out,” Wednesday Night Market Co-founder Summer Altena said. “Right now it’s fire pits and line dancing. In the summer we will have relay races with water balloons and buckets. No matter the season, we’ll be doing something fun.”

Summer and her husband Harry Altena are the masterminds behind Airplant Buddies and Pops Chips and Salsa, which birthed the brainchild of the Wednesday Night Market. But don’t let the cozy vibes fool you, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill pop-up. It’s now officially a certified farmers market.

Since their businesses were featured by St. George News in November 2022, Summer Altena noted a significant increase in their businesses’ success. They now participate weekly at the St. George Downtown Farmers Market, the Sunrise Market and their new Wednesday Night Market.

The couple began their business journey at the Hurricane market before moving to the Downtown Farmers Market. Over the past year and a half, they haven’t missed a single Saturday vending at the Downtown Market.

Attendees of the Wednesday Night Market enjoy the food, music and vendors, St. George, Utah, March 6, 2024 | Photo by Jessi Bang, St. George News

“We joke that we should get a perfect attendance award,” Harry Altena said.

The idea for a midweek market struck like lightning after the Altenas got a taste of the Festival City Farmers Market Summer Festival, a Wednesday night extravaganza. Fueled by the chorus of folks chanting for a midweek market fix in St. George, they stewed over the idea for eight months before diving headfirst into the madness.

“I do want to say that all the markets in the area are great,” Summer Altena said. “We’re grateful for them all. Without them, we wouldn’t have ever even started and wouldn’t know what we’re doing. We’re all here to help each other.”

All vendors at the Wednesday Night Market must meet one key requirement: their goods must be homemade. Seeing these talented artisans thrive and earn extra income is the ultimate aim for the organizers.

“We hand select all these people to come here that we feel are really cool, happy, fun people,” Harry Altena said. “We just try to make it a happy, fun market with a killer good vibe.”

Cotton & Rust Trading Company owner Kendra Hawes smiles for the camera inside her store in St. George, Utah, March 6, 2024 | Photo by Jessi Bang, St. George News

The market is nestled in the parking lot of Cotton & Rust Trading Company, a western wonderland curated by Kendra Hawes, who raves about the good grub, the awesome vendors and the downright adorable vibe.

“We love the market,” Hawes said. “It’s something to look forward to every week. Good food, lots of good vendors and a really cute store. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

She feels great joy while witnessing the outdoor market flourishing with each passing week, mingling with fresh faces and soaking in the waves of positive feedback.

Brian Powell, Co-owner of The Biscuit Bus, had already parked his four-wheel food business in the same parking lot when he had the idea to connect Hawes and the Altena family. 

“We’re doing something a little different,” Powell said about the market. “It continues to get momentum and it continues to be a really fun thing. The vibe is so cool because you’ve got the music, you’ve got people eating, just so many things to do and see.”

Attendees of the Wednesday Night Market order fresh biscuits from The Biscuit Bus, St. George, Utah, March 6, 2024 | Photo by Jessi Bang, St. George News

As twilight descends, the market transforms into a twinkling wonderland, with fairy lights adorning every booth. And with the fire crackling and music pumping, Red Rock Country Swing encourages attendees to kick up their boots and dance like nobody’s watching.

“There’s a great variety with good people and that makes it a great environment so that people want to come back,” Summer Altena said. “We hope everyone from the community comes to check it out.”

Itching to dive into the Wednesday Night Market scene? Hop over to their Instagram for more information. Have burning questions or ready to join their vendor squad? Shoot them a DM.

Event details

What: Wednesday Night Market
When: Tuesday, April 30, at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Cotton & Rust Trading Company, 289 E St. George Blvd in St. George
Admission: Free

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