First Friday market in Viera offers festival of food, crafts

The Wild Goat Soap Team and family shows off their goat milk-related products at the Viera Park Market.

The scent of handmade goat milk hand-and-laundry soaps, essential oils and remedies, as well as fragrant candles, lingers in the air. Custom cups, hand-made greeting cards, hand-painted bowls, mosaic lamps and vintage jewelry, all looking like works of art, fill the booths.

Tempting homemade cakes, breads, cookies, organic coffee, honey, spices, salsas, relishes, jams, cupcakes, vegan baked goods, cheeses, and beef jerky are packaged and ready for purchase.

You can find these and more at the Viera Park Market, which takes place from 4 to 8 p.m. the first Friday of every month at Viera Regional Park at 2300 Judge Fran Jamieson Way.

Near the community center, vendors set up decorative tables beneath canopies or tents, creating a fun and relaxing atmosphere conducive to walkers who like to amble, sample, and shop.

“We have a lot of local fresh foods and food trucks,” said Karen Shea, who owns TCS Foods, LLC, with her husband Tim Shea. The couple has been running the market in Viera since 2017. “We want to keep it local.”

In July, about 30 vendors showcased their wares, some of them offering free samples, and others a friendly smile and good conversation.

The winter months bring up to 50 vendors to the market.

Kaitlyn Jensen, a first-time vendor and recent UCF graduate, started making earrings from polymer clay in order to alleviate the boredom she experienced during the pandemic. Some are sparkly; others are transparent when you hold them up to the sun.

“They are almost like stained glass,” Jensen said.

Aromatic roasted coffee attracts shoppers to Mountain Laurel Handcrafts & Specialty Coffee, run by Laurel Hogan Earls, who roasts her own organic coffee blends. Her booth also features unique, one-of-a-kind coffee mugs hand-crafted by Pottery by Grams, and local honey.

Samantha Wischnefski, a Melbourne native, has been making beef jerky from cuts of eye round roast beef for the past two years.

“I honestly began out of necessity,” she said of her jerky, wanting to make something for her teething toddler to chew on. “Family and friends started liking it, and I ended up making a business out of it.”

Local caterer Simply Fresh & Delicious has prepared hot foods on hand, and various food trucks, such as East Coast Shuckers, Happy Hippies Vegan Truck, Tasty Freeze 2.0, Cali Shave Ice, Dusty Joe’s Fusion BBQ, and Nunzi’s Wood-Fired Cuisine offered tempting, delicious fare.

The next market takes place on Friday, Aug. 6.

For more information, go to Viera Park Market on Facebook.