The first Third Thursday market of the summer drew a crowd to Montezuma Park in Cortez.
About a dozen food and craft vendors gathered in the park on the evening of June 15, along with cowboy singer Sand Sheff, who provided live music for the event. The U.S. Honor Flag, a special flag that travels to memorial services and events around the country to honor soldiers, also made an appearance as part of a fundraising campaign. The market will return to the same location on July 20.
This is the second year the city of Cortez has organized the market, and several vendors from last year have returned.
Brent McWhirter, co-owner of the Moose and More ice cream shop, said he preferred this year’s location on Montezuma to last year’s, which was in a parking lot on Main Street.
“It’s nice to have trees instead,” he said. “We would have baked over there.”
He served up “adult floats” at the market with beer from WildEdge Brewing Collective, along with more traditional ice cream concoctions for kids. Organizer Mark Drudge said he wants to offer something special at each market, so next month will feature free sundaes at the Moose and More booth.
This Thursday, though, the special event was a chance for guests to take pictures with the Honor Flag. The flag originally flew at the World Trade Center during recovery efforts after the 9/11 attacks, and has since become a symbol of fallen American heroes. It has traveled all over the country, and even to the International Space Station, while accompanied by members of nonprofit organization The Honor Network. Cynthia Cohn, who joined the flag at the Cortez market, said she often takes the flag to events like this to raise money for the Network in between official appearances.
“Everything we do is off of donations,” she said. “Unfortunately, we don’t get a lot of donations ... so when we’re not out honoring heroes, we’re trying to do these public events to get some education out there.”
Guests at the market could pay for photo opportunities with the flag, as well as wristbands and baseball caps commemorating the occasion.
Several of the vendors were new this year, like Keith Kessler and Anna Marie Osuna of Red Tail Creations in Dolores, and Kimberly Gunderson, who used the market as a way to promote her new organization supporting local law enforcement, the Cortez Blue Line Auxiliary.
“This is our test run to see if we really want to commit to doing market stuff or not,” she said.
Vendors can continue to sign up for the market throughout the summer, for a $10 fee per event. Next month will feature live music from folk rock band The Coteries, as well as the return of most vendors who came to the June 15 market.