New $3.8M Muskegon Farmers Market draws 10,000 visitors a week, street dances, art market planned

Since the May 3 opening of the new $3.8 million Muskegon Farmers Market in its new downtown location, the Saturday market alone has drawn some 10,000 people every week. Now with summer in full swing, a street dance, Dancing Downtown, will lure dance and music enthusiasts to the market one Thurs. evening a month, and a weekly Art Market every Weds. night adds even more variety.

The Muskegon Farmers Market, 242 W. Western Ave., offers locally grown vegetables, fruits, farm-fresh meats and eggs, cheeses, fish, coffees, and handmade crafts every Tues., Thurs., and Sat. On Saturdays, added attractions include live music on the concert stage, a couple of eateries for breakfast and lunch, and The Power of Produce Club for kids ages 5 to 12.

"They receive a shopping bag and a token and can take that and spend it on something at the market, then return to complete the activity, like making a salad or planting seeds, with whatever they purchased," says Cindy Larsen, president of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, a driving force behind bringing the market to the downtown shopping district.

Larsen says that Saturdays draw 150-160 vendors selling seasonal produce, live plants, and specialties like jams, jellies, and baked goods.

"It's amazing, it's wild, it's fantastic!" Larsen says with a laugh. "It's a festival-type atmosphere. It's definitely a happening. People come downtown and have breakfast at the nearby restaurants or stay after the market to go for lunch. Some people come late and then head to the breweries for a drink. It really has generated activity downtown and the businesses have reported increases in sales, as well."

As the season moves toward cooler days, the indoor market will become a Winter Market that will be open year-round. The community kitchen, still under construction, will be open and ready for entrepreneurs and cooking classes by fall.

Farmers Market: Tues., Sat. 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Thurs. 6 a.m. to evening.
Art on the Market: every Weds. 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Dancing Downtown: free lessons 7 - 7:30 p.m., dancing with live music 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
Images courtesy of Muskegon Farmers Market

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