The Columbus Farmers Market is putting down roots at one fixed downtown location.
And rather than alternating from a spring market to a summer one, the downtown gathering on Brown Street in the Cummins Inc. parking lot between Fifth and Eighth streets will open at 9 a.m. Saturday rain or shine and run through Sept. 16.
“Now, when people go looking for us, they can easily find us,” market coordinator Becky Church said.
She mentioned that some shoppers have told her in the past couple of years that they grew confused over which dates were focused on a spring market along Fourth Street or a summer market in the Cummins Inc. parking lot along Brown Street. This one locale plan eliminates such obstacles, Church said.
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A scaled-down spring Columbus Farmers Market began April 27, 2013 on Fourth Street. That was several months after the Fourth Street beautification and paving project was completed to make that area more event- and festival-friendly. The market was one way to boost programming there, Church said.
“They have that programming pretty established there now,” Church said.
Saturday’s Columbus Farmers Market will open with more than 50 vendors and week by week will work up to 90-plus vendors, according to organizers. Those booths will include the typical produce, flowers, art, handmade items, concessions and other products.
The Columbus City Farmers Market will open its new season from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. June 3 in the parking lot of FairOaks Mall, 2380 25th St. in Columbus. Founder and organizer Sande Hummel estimates she will have at least 15 vendors, from produce to local art.
“It’s still great that we can have two markets on different ends of town,” Hummel said.
She added that her older customers especially appreciate the more concise layout at the mall, plus close and ample parking. She also said she seems to attract a lot of cyclists.
The two Columbus markets feature more than shopping.
“I consider the Columbus Farmers Market the neighborhood backyard where everyone gathers on Saturday mornings to buy produce, enjoy our ready-to-eat foods and purchase unique crafts for their home or for a gift,” Church said. “But, most of all, it’s such a social atmosphere.
“People don’t seem to rush in and rush out. They stay and see their friends and family, and often sit and enjoy the live music.”
Local photographer Brandon Boas will sell greeting cards adorned with his landscape images at the downtown market.
“It’s a good way to market myself, and to get my photos out there,” Boas said, adding that he normally has enjoyed solid sales.
Live music also will be part of the mix, just as in years past.
The Banister Family Bluegrass band, a local favorite foursome that has played at the market and a broad variety of fundraisers, concerts, and other community events, will perform from 10 a.m. to noon. The ensemble expects to play bluegrass, old-time country and gospel favorites, bass guitarist Jan Banister said.
“We definitely want to be a crowd-pleaser,” Banister said.
She mentioned that tunes in their set list may include fitting titles such as “Shuckin’ the Corn,” and “Y’all Come.”
Artist Heather Likens will return on Saturday to her downtown vendor space for the fourth year selling folk art works done with mixed media on recycled wood or glass.
“I didn’t even fully understand the market (breadth) until I saw it for myself, and I realized all the different vendors that were there,” Likens said.
She nearly sold out of her Dreaming Dog Designs pieces on her first Saturday, discovering that people who were picky about their produce also seemed to know exactly what they liked in the arts and crafts realm.
“And they definitely seem to come looking to buy,” Likens said.
When: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each Saturday through Sept. 16, rain or shine, beginning this weekend.
Where: In the Cummins Inc. parking lot on Brown Street between Fifth and Eighth streets downtown.
Vendors: More than 50 through May, working toward a total of about 90-plus by June. Will include produce, plants, handmade items such as arts and crafts, flowers and more.
Music: Live acts weekly.
Ready-to-eat food: Plenty available.
Parking: In the city garage on Fourth Street, along the streets downtown, and at Mill Race Park on Fifth Street.
When: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays, June 3 through Sept. 16.
Where: Parking lot of FairOaks Mall at 2380 25th St., facing 25th Street.
Vendors: Beginning with more than 15, and more may be added. Will include produce, flowers, locally produced art, sauces and jellies, and more.
Ready-to-eat food: A variety available, from pulled pork sandwiches to gluten-free baked goods.
Parking: Next to the market layout in the mall parking lot.
Information: The Facebook page at Columbus City Summer Farmers Market.