Farmers markets offer entertainment as well as fresh produce

05/19/2013 9:27 AM

08/06/2014 1:39 AM

Farmers markets in Wichita are open on Saturdays and a couple of weekdays every week of summer, selling fresh produce, homemade food, crafts items and plants.

But they also offer entertainment and special events that are always free.

“We think every week is a special event,” said Pat Randleas of the Old Town Farmers Market, which does have fun fixtures every Saturday downtown at First and Mosley, including:

• Live musical performances from 10 a.m. to noon.
• The Kids Corner from 9 to 11 a.m., where children can take part in a supervised make-it-take-it craft and story time.
• A seasonal cooking demonstration by a chef at 9 a.m. from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend.

The cooking demos culminate in the highlight of the Old Town market’s season: an “Iron Chef”-type competition between local chefs on Labor Day weekend, this year Aug. 30, Randleas said.

At the Kansas Grown Farmers Market at 21st and Ridge Road, Troubles the Clown makes balloon animals every Saturday morning, and there’s usually somebody playing music, said Kay Neff, an herb grower and publicity manager of the market.

It also has these themed days this year:

• Kids Day and Grill Day, June 15 – Troubles will bring some of his clown friends to the market, there will be games, and children will be able to pick up a scavenger hunt list from the information center and go looking for certain things at the booths of different vendors. Samples of meats and vegetables – “and I’ll throw in some herbs so they can have a sample of market,” Neff said – will be available for tasting off the grill.
• Tomato Day, July 27 – The annual tomato celebration at the Extension Center where the market is held is seen by vendors as the height of the season, Neff said. “We’re really involved,” she said, with vendors donating a lot of tomatoes to the event, and, if the weather cooperates, there should be lots of tomatoes for sale. There’s usually special entertainment, too, Neff said.
• Customer Appreciation Day, Aug. 17 – Some vendors may offer special deals to thank customers for participating in the market, Neff said.

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