Saturday, July 11, 2009

Images of market day at the Green Dragon

Market Friday at the Green Dragon, a Lancaster County staple since the 1930's. The last two miles of road to the market.... will suck 30 minutes from your life as you wait your turn at the 20 acre parking lot. Once in the lot.... you will circle slowly, waiting for a spot to open up.

The vendors get there at 4am, and put in a 20 hour day. For many of them, this one day a week market is their livelihood. They bring with them just about every culture you can imagine. Amish bakery stands sell their wares next to middle eastern jewelry dealers. Cries of "Guut fresh bread today!" are every bit as truthful as "Every piece pure silver, not sterling!" The bread is usually day old and bought by the truckload locally, and nobody makes chains of pure silver, it's too soft. That's okay, it's all part of the magic of the Souk.

While it was once a cattle auction, with some space to sell other goods considered needful by the local farmers and townspeople, the Green Dragon is now a home to antique dealers and clothing vendors. Tables full of hand tools reside next to a booth where hats rule the scene. Fresh produce is in abundance, with each stand holder trying to undercut the other in price, quantity, and sometimes quality.

Perhaps best of all... the food. It's Fair Food... that magic stuff one can only find at outdoor stands on rare days when people gather together. French fries in a paper cup, splashed with malt vinegar..... Grilled sausage sandwiches smothered with fried onions..... Funnel cake, that heavenly deep fried concoction of flour, eggs, and lots of sugar.... Milk shakes and egg rolls and BBQ and beef jerky and..........

'Market Day' is a tradition dating back many generations. It's another way of saying Friday, the day local farmers takes their produce to market, and themselves do the weeks shopping. It comes from a time when goods and people moved by horse drawn wagon and running to town was not something done on the spur of the moment. Sunday was for worship, and Saturday was much taken up with preparing for Sunday gatherings, and the rest of the week is for work.... but a day for trade is needed and that day is Friday, 'Market Day'.


lucy said...

Hey thanks for stopping by and saying hello! I love both your blogs and what great shots of the food!

"He's just this guy, you know?" said...

Thank you Lucy, and you are very welcome here any time you wish. :-)

JK said...

With all the talk about Green Dragon lately, it gave me a craving to go again. But after seeing your pictures, I've realized it's the same as it was the last time I was there which was about 30 years ago! What, no pictures of the perogies??? How could you do that to me?