Smile Politely

Market Watch: May 17th, 2014

The rain may finally clear up just in time for the market this weekend. This week has been cold and windy, but the forecast for Saturday looks a little bit better, so make a plan to come out and enjoy some (forecasted) sunshine this Saturday morning.    The market will run from 7 a.m. to noon as usual, although it is definitely recommended to arrive early if you are trying to beat the crowds. The market usually starts to get pretty crowded around 10 a.m., so you might aim for before that if you want to avoid the crowds.

Last week’s Art at the Market hosted Djibril Camera and the Mara Girl Dance Ensemble, which showcased West African drum music and dancing. The event was really fun and attracted a big audience. The dancers and musicians seemed to be having even more fun than the audience. They also had quite the dance following in the under eight age bracket.

The Japanese screen-printing workshop looked very fun, too, and produced some very pretty results. There was a bit more produce last week, and this week should be good as well. Also, be sure to check out the last row of tents toward Vine Street as you puruse the market, which is where all the community events tents are. Learn more about what is happening in your community! Last week, I had a nice chat with one of the coordinators for Rely for Life Champaign County, and learned all about the event planned for June 14th. If you want to learn more about Relay for Life Champaign County, check out its website.

This week, Sprouts at the Market returns with “Farm to Table” with partnering organization Strawberry Fields. Sprouts is always on the first Saturday of the month, May through October, from 9:30–11:30 a.m. There are lots of different events planned for this year. The event this week is designed to teach kids aged 3-8 about how food is grown, harvested, and transported. The event will include activities and some samples for kids. To learn more about this event, check out the Sprouts at the Market website

Bike to the Market month also continues with more bike friendly activities. Bike to the Market month promotes cycling for routine transportation in town and for running errands on bike instead of by car. There is bike parking by Lincoln Square Mall. To learn more about Bike to the Market Month, check out its website.

This week looks to be a good one for market produce. There was a lot of asparagus last week and this week will likely continue the trend. There will also be lots of greens and spring plants for your garden.

I am looking forward to some beautiful flower arrangements this weekend — I hope there will be some peonies and lilies.  I’ve also been keeping an eye out for some pretty hanging baskets. I saw a few last week, but I wasn’t quite ready to commit. The flower vendors have gotten more creative over the past couple of years, and there has been quite a selection as the market continues through summer. Flowers make such a good treat for your home. But if you are into edible treats, don’t miss out on the food trucks and all the prepared foods the market has to offer. I saw a lot of kiddos walking around with bags of kettle corn almost as big as they were. 

Forms of payment: All vendors accept cash, and a few may take checks. There is an ATM in the Lincoln Square Mall just in case you buy so much you need a few more bucks. LINK card tokens are still available. Information about LINK is available here.

Parking: Parking is available in the parking lots surrounding Lincoln Square Mall and the lot south of Illinois Street for FREE! Bike parking is also available at the entrances to the mall and at the bike corral area past the entrance to the Market off of Illinois.

Information: The market provides a lot of ways to get information. You can follow the Market on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for Market mail here. There is a map of the vendors here. If you want even more information, you can email Market Director Natalie Kenny Marquez, or call her at 217.384.2319. Check out the market flickr for some great photos from each week — maybe you’ll even be in a few!

The Market runs from 7 a.m. to noon every Saturday through November 1st. All events are scheduled rain or shine.

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