Thursdays from 9 am to 1 pm
Dowdy Park Farmer’s Market open every Thursday in the summer

By on May 27, 2021

67 vendors selected out of about 90 applicants

The Dowdy Park Farmer’s Market in Nags Head will feature the largest number of vendors the market has hosted since debuting in 2017, with 67 vendors set to kick off its summer season.

During a typical year, the market hosts 50 vendors, but this year there were close to 90 applicants, said Town of Nags Head Event Coordinator Paige Griffin, who organizes and runs the markets for the municipality.

“This year we had such a huge response, I guess because of the economy and people having more time on their hands, taking maybe a hobby and actually turning it into a business,” said Griffin. The market is held every Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through September 9 and is popular among vendors because of its success over recent years.

Vendors – over half of whom will be selling food, perishables and consumables during this season’s market – pay $240 for their space each season. The money is used to cover the cost to the town of Griffin’s part-time position as well as operating costs of the market.

Vendors are chosen based on what they are selling, how long they’ve been vendors at the market and whether they are local. Those selling food, perishables and consumables have priority, with seniority and being local being the next to be considered, Griffin said. While those vendors selling produce come from a roughly 75-mile radius, all other vendors, Griffin said, are local.

“I have to be loyal to my local people who spend their money here, invest their time, give donations here, help their neighbors here,” Griffin said. “We try very, very hard to make it about community, to make it about shopping local, and to make it about education.

This year’s market, for the first time, will feature about half a dozen young entrepreneurs ages 14 to 18 who will also be selling their wares. Griffin said she has been working with the teenagers on small business skills to prepare them for season.

One key to the market’s success, Griffin noted, was how vendors are positioned at the park. “I visit the vendors where they are, I know their personalities,” she said. “I know who to put next to each other. You have to know your people, you have to know your community, not only the products that they sell, but their personalities and how they operate.”

Last season, the Farmer’s Market had a shortened season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, only operating during the months of July and August. Sanitation stations were placed throughout the park grounds and masks were required.

As for this season, the mask requirement for the Farmer’s Market has been dropped in light of Governor Roy Cooper’s announcement that the mask mandate was rescinded in the state.

Griffin said she’s optimistic for a successful market this year, with holiday markets scheduled for November and December as well.

“We’re looking forward to having a full season,” she said. “And hopefully we’ll be able to [resume pre-COVID] activities [at Dowdy Park] by mid-July, such as live music and movies.”





  • Dawn L. Rohrbach

    As out of town homeowner’s and frequent visitors to Nags Head, it is disappointing that the Farmer’s Market is held on a Thursday, when most visitors are leaving the following days and the fresh produce will go to waste. Could they possible consider moving the day to a Monday or Tuesday when the products can be used and enjoyed in the week of visiting?
    Just a thought.

    Thursday, May 27 @ 11:36 am
  • Jake

    Dawn, There are more then just tourists here. People actually LIVE and WORK here and want enjoy our local produce.

    Thursday, May 27 @ 4:52 pm
  • Susan Cheney

    Dawn, most local people provide support to our visitors. Saturday and Sunday’s are the only time they can frequent the market. You may not have noticed but we are dramatically short people right now.

    Thursday, May 27 @ 9:11 pm
  • Peter Hummers

    The first day was like Woodstock without the mud and music, plus great local crafts, art, leatherwork, plants, seeds, and produce, including eggs and honey. Beautiful!

    Friday, May 28 @ 7:09 am
  • Peggy Layman

    Where is the market located in Nags Head?

    Sunday, May 30 @ 5:49 pm
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    Peggy, Dowdy’s Park is on the ocean side of the bypass at about MP 11 in Nags Head across from the YMCA.

    Sunday, May 30 @ 9:30 pm