Hundreds flock to Green Dragon on Good Friday
Fifty-two times a year, it's busy at Green Dragon Market in Ephrata. The Friday-only market attracts hundreds of visitors each week, but they all pale in comparison to Good Friday, when the market becomes absolutely slammed, according to vendor Diane Matroni.
"It's much busier than a typical Friday. It can be overwhelming at times, but I see my sales going up a lot," Matroni said early Friday morning in anticipating a busy afternoon crowd. "We'll see. It usually has a line coming in, or at least I've heard. I'm usually in here, so I can't attest to it, really."
One person who can attest to the Good Friday crowd is Marty Witman, who makes the journey to the market every Good Friday with his wife, Lois.
"I've been coming here for quite a few years. It's probably be 20 years, at least," Witman said.
The Witmans don't make the trip to Ephrata each week, but because of the holiday, they like to spend a part of their day perusing the grounds.
"We always come on Good Friday. I have the day off, and it's more or less a holiday. Lois and I are Christians, and we believe in the true meaning of Easter. We come down here and spend part of the day," Witman said, agreeing that this is typically the busiest day of the year. "We got here right before 7 a.m. We like to get breakfast here, and if you wait too long, you're going to have to wait to get it. We like to get here a little early to beat the rush. We have the timing down, but last year we came late, and we had to wait awhile."
Unlike Witman, Barry Erb is a regular at the Green Dragon Market – regardless of which Friday of the year it is.
Erb can be found parked at the corner of the bar in front of the Jake and Leona's Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking Restaurant.
"I come right here for breakfast every Friday," Erb said, in between bites. "This is sausage gravy on top of home fries. I don't get it every week, because sometimes they're out. So when they're out, I'm always on them and asking for more."
Despite the increased crowd, Erb isn't scared away from his weekly routine.
"That's why I'm here early. I want to get here early and get out early. I showed up at 7:45 a.m. today. Usually I come in at 8:30 a.m., but I knew what it would be like today, so I wanted to get in here as soon as possible," Erb said, adding that they do stock up while there. "We check out vendors. I get my produce here and everything. It's real nice."