By Nancy R. Elliott
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON – No surprise here. If Anderson City Market is any evidence, folks like local. The farmers market debuted June 29, setting up each Saturday morning since in Anderson’s Athletic Park. The weekly event was a resounding success, and this Saturday the market wraps the season with a special finale.
“I am exhausted but thrilled,” Jody Townsend said as she laughed. She and Anderson Street Commissioner Brad Land were the driving forces behind the new market. “I am very pleased at the way it turned out.” The end-of-season celebration takes place Saturday Sept. 28, running from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The extended hours will accommodate shoppers and diners, with additional lunch vendors on site. Visitors can expect a number of other attractions, not the least of which is live music from the Stampede String Band starting at 10 a.m.Vendors will pull out all the stops, offering finale specials and DIY demonstrations in cheesemaking and canning. Bring the kids, because the market is hosting several attractions with them in mind, including pumpkin painting and a petting zoo. “We’re going to make it fun,” said Townsend. Visitors can also expect a hefty complement of vendors. Townsend said the produce vendors are especially popular, but artisans were also well-received, with offerings like unique jewelry, goat soap, aprons, quilts, coffee and more. Local businesses like MUGS Coffee and Park Place Arts enjoyed increased exposure in the community through the market.
Townsend said the market started out with 13 vendors. The number has now grown to 30 vendors who bring fresh produce, artisan offerings, baked goods and more each week to a growing number of patrons.
“They love the quality of the produce and the variety. They really like interacting with the vendors,” said Townsend. In addition, she noted, “They love to see something positive like this.” With the strong response from both patrons and vendors, next year’s market is already in the planning stages. “It’s going to be bigger,” Townsend said. She noted that new vendors have already expressed their intent to participate. In addition, Townsend said, “We’re exploring different ways of serving the community.”Organizers are brainstorming on topics like debit cards, SNAP and collaborative efforts. One thing Townsend hopes to see is more live music like Saturday’s performance by the Stampede String Band.“I really want more of that next year,” said Townsend. With the popularity of the market, an earlier opening is anticipated next year, possibly in early May.Once the season is done, organizers will donate funds realized from vendor fees toward the restoration of Athletic Pool. Each vendor paid a fee to participate in the market, but kept all the profits they made from sales.Townsend said that a representative from the Hoosier Harvest Council recently visited the market and was thoroughly impressed with the new initiative.“It’s just been so positive for people,” said Townsend.
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If you go What: Anderson City Market finale When: Saturday, Sept. 28, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Where: Athletic Park, Eighth and Milton, Anderson More info: Expect live music from the Stampede String Band, petting zoo, pumpkin painting, vendor finale specials, DIY demos, and additional lunch vendors.