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St. Pete Beach gains fresh event in Corey Sunday Market

The new Corey Sunday Market will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays through the end of June, except for April 5 and June 7.

EDMUND D. FOUNTAIN | Times

The new Corey Sunday Market will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays through the end of June, except for April 5 and June 7.

ST. PETE BEACH

There is a new green market coming to town, but not everyone is happy about it.

Inspired by the hugely successful Saturday Morning Market in downtown St. Petersburg, the Corey Sunday Market would be the area's first "European style" green market, with prepared food, produce and flowers mixed in with arts and crafts stalls. It debuts Sunday.

Proponents of the new venue, which was largely organized by the nonprofit Suntan Art Center, say the market would add a fresh twist on the art market concept, potentially pulling in more local and tourist traffic.

But opponents, who include the owners of the popular Beverly's La Croisette Restaurant and the Beach Theatre, fear there is not enough parking in town for the new venue.

"I am 100 percent against it," said Beverly Pedaggi, owner of La Croisette Restaurant. Pedaggi organized a letter drive against the market, which she said included 70 letters from her patrons and surrounding business owners.

Pedaggi said her biggest business day is Sunday, and that her weekend crowds number 700 people or more. Parking is hard enough already, she said.

But 17 other businesses near the new market are in favor of it, and agreed to share their parking with the new market. Along with the city, the market has the blessing of the Corey Area Business Association and the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce.

Terry Denson, board president of the Suntan Art Center, said the new market could coexist with existing businesses, sharing in the bounty of new visitors.

David Cellon, who ran the downtown Saturday Morning Market in St. Petersburg for three years and more recently managed the Wednesday Midday Market in Williams Park, is organizing the new market. The Wednesday event shut down earlier this year after too few food vendors were willing to participate. It also faced criticism that it was competing with local restaurants.

But Cellon said that would not happen in St. Pete Beach.

"We will have lots of produce and some food, but we don't want to compete with the restaurants on Corey Avenue," Cellon said. There will be 50 vendors, with about 75 percent dedicated to arts. Cellon said he is preparing for 500 visitors.

The City Commission vote to sponsor the event passed by a narrow 3-2 vote. The vote gave the market a three-month trial.

City Commissioner Al Halpern, who represents the area, voted yes, but said he felt for Pedaggi.

"We at the beach here are struggling to support our tourism," he said.

Luis Perez can be reached at (727) 892-221 or [email protected]

fast facts

To learn more

The Corey Sunday Market debuts Sunday in the 300 block of Corey Avenue, between Blind Pass Road and Boca Ciega Drive. To learn more, call the Suntan Arts Center at (727) 367-3818 or e-mail [email protected]

St. Pete Beach gains fresh event in Corey Sunday Market 03/17/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 17, 2009 4:42pm]
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