Smile Politely

Market Watch: May 4, 2013

After surviving all of that terrifying rain and flooding and the run on ark supplies at the hardware store, let’s celebrate with the first Market of the 2013 season this Saturday! There is a forty percent chance of rain for Saturday, but we who have endured the floods will not let that deter us.

Starting at 7 a.m. on May 4, you can find food, fun, and friendly vendors in the parking lot of the Lincoln Square Mall (at Illinois and Vine Streets) in Urbana. Rain or shine, there will be tents and display cases filled with the freshest picks from the fields of our fair state, as well as crafts and ready-made food stuffs.

There are some changes for this season:

  • There is a new Market map and product search function available. You can find out which vendors will be in attendance each week, get contact information for vendors or community groups, and see if the bread you want will be available. According to Market Director Natalie Kenny Marquez, this interactive platform will connect farmers to the community and help with menu planning.
  • While I feel like this is my way of writing myself out of a job, you can sign up for weekly updates on Market programming, entitled Market Mail, here.
  • Credit / debit card tokens are being phased out! If you have some left over from last year, you can still use them, but you can’t purchase new ones.

Last year, the Market clocked in with over 150 vendors and exactly “thousands” of visitors, so do what the cool kids are doing and go check it out! There will be, as always, fresh produce as well as plants (so you can grow your own fresh produce!), flowers, meat, cheese, eggs, honey, fresh bread, hot coffee, dairy products, jewelry, pottery, art, candles, soaps, decorations, clothes, representatives from a variety of community organizations (in Community Row, the row closest Vine Street), and so many things to eat, or to fully intend to take home for dinner but then eat on an impromptu picnic on the way home. In the words of Emily Hazlett, the Market puts the BA in Urbana, so head to the best place in town to find some organic tasty treats, locally-raised meat for a non-vegetarian dinner / picnic, fresh Illinois-grown produce, a variety of arts and crafts, and entertaining musical performances. See you there, rain or shine — and let’s hope for the 60 percent chance of shine to win out!

Upcoming Events

Mark your calendars for all sorts of awesome upcoming events this season:

  • The City of Urbana Public Arts Program will be offering FREE Art at the Market workshops on May 11, June 22, July 20, August 17, and September 28. The detailed schedule is available here.
  • Sprouts at the Market offers FREE educational programming for children ages 3–8 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. on selected Saturdays. In addition to this week’s event, sessions are scheduled for June 1, July 6, August 3, September 7, and October 5. More details available here.

MISSION: Go out and have a good time chatting up Illinois farmers, local artists, friendly vendors, and your neighbors, if you aren’t still hiding from them because of that leaf-blowing incident last fall.

THERE ARE CHANGES TO THE MONEY STUFF: There will NOT be credit / debit card tokens available for purchase this year! You can use up your left overs from last year, but you can’t get new ones. LINK card tokens will still be available (details here).

You can pay vendors in cold, hard cash or in soft, wrinkly paper money. Some vendors may accept credit or debit payments, but if they don’t, you can find an ATM near the main entrance to the Lincoln Square Mall (next to the gym).

I AM OVERWHELEMED / THIRSTY / IN NEED OF CHICKEN-THEMED ATTIRE: The City tent is located at the northwest entrance to the Market, near Health Alliance and Common Ground Food Coop. They have Illinois seasonality charts to help you decide which produce to buy, and free water if you or your wee ones are feeling parched. They also have Market merch that will allow you to sport a chicken on your t-shirt or bag.

PARKING: Free parking is available in the Lincoln Square Mall lot as well as the lot south of Illinois Street. There’s bike parking near the entrances to the Mall / Village, and west of the Market.

Check out the Market’s homepage; read the Market blog; follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+; check out their photos on flickr; email Market Director Natalie Kenny Marquez or give her a call at (217) 384-2319.

What: Urbana Market at the Square
Where: the parking lot of Lincoln Square Mall at the intersection of Illinois and Vine Streets
When: Saturdays May 4 through November 2, begins at 7 a.m. and ends at noon, rain or shine
Why: because the Market puts the BA in Urbana

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