Saturday 2016-10-01 213
Local News

Homewood Farmers Market keeps festival spirit alive

The Homewood Farmers Market summer season will begin Saturday, May 27, and will continue through Oct. 14. Village officials say it will build on the successes of recent years, keeping the momentum going for the village’s festivals.

  A youngster dances to music by Chris Denman’s 
  jazz group at the Homewood Farmers Market in 
  October 2016.
(Chronicle file photos)

The Homewood Farmers Market summer season will begin Saturday, May 27, and will continue through Oct. 14. Village officials say it will build on the successes of recent years. 

The market is open each Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

  Fresh produce provides 
  the heart of the market’s 


On opening day live entertainment from 9 to 11 a.m. will feature music by MG Bailey and balloon art for kids by Mary Macaroni. She provided entertainment for youngsters at last year’s opening market day. 


In addition to the food selections, Vice District Brewery is serving hand-crafted beer and The Cottage on Dixie is setting up a bloody Mary bar. 

Patrons can also pick-up new Homewood Farmers Market reusable bags and souvenir buttons.

Foods available will include farm-fresh organic eggs and fruit from Lyons Fruit Farm; kettle corn from TJ’s Kettle Corn;  artisanal cheeses from Stamper Cheese; olive oils, vinegars, salsas and sauces from Sonoma Farm; homemade scones and cookies from Marabell’s Sweets & Savories; gumbo, cornbread and beignets from Cynthia’s Gumbo Express; flowers and locally-produced honey from Zeldenrust Farm Market.

  A youngster takes a look 
  in Barry Latham’s 
  telescope during the 
  first market session of 
  2016. There frequently 
  are science lessons 
  at the market, especially 
  since the opening of 
  Homewood Science 
  Center, which is adjacent 
  to the market.


But the market aims to be more than just a place to pick up fresh greens for dinner. It’s going to be more of a mini-festival every week, according to village Event Manager Allisa Opyd. 

The market has all the components of the village’s other festivals: food vendors, craft sellers, live music and activities for kids. 

“They are the bridge to our next major event,” Opyd said. “We want the community to come together every Saturday.” 

Coming together as a community is the main mission of each Homewood event, she said. The market provides an opportunity for residents to mingle and meet regularly. 

She said in a family-oriented community like Homewood, people are often very busy and might not routinely have a chance to meet with others. 

“We’ve got parents who are involved in their kids’ lives. They are very busy at the ballpark. They are very busy at the soccer field. That’s a great problem to have,” she said. 

Homewood events, like the farmers market, provides an opportunity for busy people to stay connected with the rest of the community. 

“You know you’re going to see family and friends and neighbors there,” Opyd said. 

And like the village’s flagship festival, Art & Garden Street Fair set for June 9 and 10, the farmers market is growing. A few years ago, the market was a summer-only event. In 2015, an indoor winter market was initiated. 

  Guitarist Dominic Ruffalo, 
  right, gives an aspiring 
  musician a chance to 
  check out his guitar 
  during a market session 
  in September 2016. Ruffalo 
  is one of the market’s 
  regular performers. 


This year, the market will expand again, offering a series of Wednesday evening sessions. The md-week market will be open from 4 to 8 p.m. on July 12, 19 and 26 and Aug. 2, 9 and 16. 

The Wednesday night sessions will be a bit smaller than the Saturday market and will feature  paid market vendors and live music. 

Last year, the market settled into a new home on Martin Avenue Square, 18120 Martin Ave., and attracted new vendors and more patrons, according to Market Manager Kate Duff. 

“Vendor numbers were up and attendance was way up,” she said, noting in her report to the village that patron attendance nearly doubled in 2016 at both the winter and summer markets. Duff noted on average, more than 1,000 people were in attendance at four randomly selected sessions.  

The number of paid vendors increased in 2016 to 54, up from 35 in 2015 and 25 in 2014, according to her report. Also, 40 local businesses, non-profit organizations and community groups used the market as an outreach opportunity. 

One reason for the increases might be the market’s new home. Martin Avenue Square was created by the village in 2015, and Duff said the new location is an improvement over the market’s former home in the village hall parking lot. 

“It’s much more festive and tied in to the downtown area,” she said. “It’s a little trickier for vendors in terms of set-up and parking, but we have great vendors who work together to make it happen.” 

One staple of the market ― live music ― took a leap forward in 2016 with the addition of a time slot for young musicians. Groups that performed last year included Chris Denman’s jazz combo, Homewood-Flossmoor High School musicians raising money for their annual international trip and a showcase of participants in Melody Mart’s rock band camp. 

The additional music slot gave patrons more entertainment and provided a venue for young musicians to get experience performing in public, according to Duff. 

The regulars ― Bailey, Jim Ruse, Kirk Lindstrom, Dominic Ruffalo and Tom Furlan ― are expected to be back this year, and Duff said she hopes to provide more opportunities for young musicians as word gets around that the market welcomes them. 

 Also returning this year on the last Saturday of each month will be the Hunt & Gather section of the market. Hunt & Gather provides a place for arts and crafts, home decor, collectibles and antique vendors who aren’t routinely part of the market.

  Mary Macaroni entertains kids at the opening day of 
  the 2016 summer market session. She is scheduled 
  to return opening day this year.



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