VALDOSTA — Srinivas Ashok drove from Albany to sell his homemade vegan jerky for the first time Saturday during the monthly Downtown Makers Market.

He heard about the market from another Albany vendor and decided he would come down and give it a shot. He said he was not disappointed.

"It's been going really good," Ashok said. "There's been a pretty good response to vegan food, which is nice."

The former software engineer turned entrepreneur said the Valdosta market is fantastic and easy to get set up. He said he planned to attend future markets in Valdosta to sell his product.

A crowd of patrons tried samples of his vegan snack, while sipping coffee and buying artisanal goods as they made their way around the historic Lowndes County Courthouse where dozens of vendors lined the sidewalks Saturday morning in Downtown Valdosta.

Maker's Market and Sidewalk Sale is an expansion of Farm Days, not focusing solely on farmers but including artists, organizers said. Valdosta Main Street kicked off its first-ever Downtown Maker's Market in April.

The sidewalk sale promoted area businesses as they worked to sell merchandise.

The market will be held the second Saturday of each month.

Ellen Hill, Main Street director, said in an earlier statement she believes the new expansion of Maker's Market would be positive for the market and would increase the number of vendors and community involvement.

"We are so fortunate to have this venue that allows local producers and artists to gather in one place for the economic and health benefits of our community,” Hill said.

Vendors pay $30 per market or a discounted price for multiple bookings. Applications and fee schedules for artisans, food purveyors and farmers are available at www.valdostamainstreet.com/activities or on Facebook, Valdosta Main Street.

More information, contact the Valdosta Main Street office, (229) 259-3577, or visit valdostamainstreet.com.

Thomas Lynn is a government and education reporter for The Valdosta Daily Times. He can be reached at (229)244-3400 ext. 1256

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