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Weekend farmers market returns to city

ALBANY, Ga. -- With a nod of approval from the Dougherty County Commission Monday, an effort by a local group to restore a network of local farmers markets throughout Southwest Georgia got its biggest boost yet by receiving permission to set up shop in Albany.

The Downtown Albany Market will open in downtown Albany each Saturday beginning this Saturday, May 28, and run through November, organizer David Milliner says.

Open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Market is a hybrid farm market mixed with entertainment and a sense of community, organizers say.

The Albany market will possibly be the anchor for a series of markets throughout Southwest Georgia organized by the SOWEGA Community Food Alliance.

In pitching the idea to the county commission, Milliner said the move will help support local farmers and businesses while bringing a much-needed event downtown on the weekends.

Three years ago, a similar push was undertaken and fizzled after only a few months.

Milliner and Downtown Manager Aaron Blair told commissioners in a meeting last month they believe they have learned from previous attempts and think it's a viable move for downtown.

"This is going to be a very upscale event. It's also going to be tailored to families, to make sure we are doing all the things that we possibly could to make sure Southwest Georgia is growing and downtown Albany is definitely growing with it," Milliner said at the time.

Current plans are to host the market for 25 Saturdays starting this Saturday, Milliner said. It will be part of a network of farmer's markets the alliance is trying to put together throughout the 22-county area it serves, Milliner said.