New market to open at historic Welch parking lot

McDOWELL COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – If you live in or near Welch, there’s a new market you may want to check out this weekend.

Since the pandemic hit, vendors of all kinds have had a rough time.

“Artists and musicians [have been hit hard,]” said artist Tom Acosta. “I’ve canceled two one-man shows.”

North Carolina-based company Giant Games normally works dozens of events each year, but since the pandemic canceled every one of them, owner and West Virginia native Chris Blankenship decided it was time to take on a long-awaited project.

“We’ve been wanting to get some things started up here for some time for the community,” said Blankenship. “We saw an opportunity in Welch. We were so busy that things weren’t able to happen until March when our event business…shut down.”

Friday, the top two lots of the historic parking garage in Welch will welcome vendors and visitors alike for some socially distanced shopping and fun.

“We are looking for opportunities to bring new businesses in,” said councilman James Spence. “We need to build more with our economy, not only in our county but in the city, so we’re trying anything we can to help bring people in.”

Starting Friday, families can come every weekend to enjoy a variety of vendors, including Giant Games

The event only costs $2 for adults to enter. Kids 11 to 17 only have to pay $1 while younger children can enter for free. As Blankenship finishes setting up his area, he looks forward to seeing the turnout tomorrow morning.

“We’ve got a few vendors booked, probably 10 or 15,” said Blankenship. “Vendors will show up and the people will show up and we’re gonna be here. It’s a start just to kick things off.”

The market will be open Friday through Sunday every week starting at 8 a.m. The market closes at 3 p.m. on Fridays and Sundays but stays open until 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

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Kassie Simmons
Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at