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Alton Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market opens for season on Saturday

altonfarmersmarket2017The 2018 season of the Alton Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market is starting Mother’s Day weekend on Saturday, May 12, in the parking lot at the corner of Landmarks Boulevard and Henry Street in Alton.

The market will be in session Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. until noon through Oct 20. The Wednesday evening market will run from 4 until 7 p.m. from June 6t through Sept 26.

Shoppers will find a wide selection of locally-grown seasonal fruit and vegetables, including heirloom varieties and organically grown crops. Produce will be available, along with grass-fed beef, pasture-raised poultry, farm fresh eggs, local honey, hot or iced coffee, fresh bread and other baked goods. In addition, fresh cut flowers, potted plants, and a large assortment of hand-crafted artwork such as pottery, stained glass, soap, candles, and woodworking items will be sold.

This year marks the 26th season of the market, organized by Alton Main Street as part of the organization’s efforts to revitalize the Downtown Alton historic district. The events feature a variety of products that are handmade or homegrown within a 50-mile radius. New vendors are welcome; registration fees are $12 for Saturdays and $5 for either weeknight option. Discounted seasonal rates are also available.

Live entertainment, artist demonstrations and other special activities have been scheduled every Saturday throughout the season. The schedule is as follows:

5/12 – Test your pitching speed with Bristowplex
5/19 – Yoga with Sasha Bassett at 8:30 & 9:30
5/26 – Tailgate Sale
6/2 – Live music from Crossriver
6/9 – Artist Demo: Painting with Karman Fairless
6/16 – Artist Demo: Pottery Wheel with Bob Sancamper
6/23 – Artist Demo: stitching with Lillian Bates
6/30 – Soccer Tennis with Principia College Soccer
7/7 – Live music from Happenstance, plus an educational booth about urban chicken farming
7/14 – Christmas in July – visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, plus enjoy an art activity with Jacoby Arts Center
7/21 – Theatrical preview of the play “Andy” from 3 Purple Coats Productions, and Artist Demo: yarn bombing with Laura Blair
7/28 – Free Goat Yoga with River Bend Yoga & Horseshoe Cross Farms
8/4 – Artist Demo: Origami with Taeko Wogi
8/11 – Celebrating National Farmers’ Market Week: check out some antique tractors, kids will enjoy a “make & take” slime activity, plus live music from Nancy Lippincott
8/18 – Art activity with Jacoby Arts Center
8/25 – Artist Demo: English Paper Piecing & Quilting with Debbie Wienman
9/1 – Live music from Lauren Waters
9/8 – Health Fair with Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation
9/15 – Live music from Goodbye Again
9/22 – Artist Demo: acrylics with Christina MacMorran
9/29 – Canine Carnival with SNIP Alliance
10/6 – Live music from Jim on Keys
10/13 – Visit with a live unicorn with It’s Raining Zen
10/20 – Tailgate Sale

Alton Main Street aims to improve access to healthy food thanks to the Illinois EBT Wireless Project grant funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, which were formerly known as LINK or food stamps, will be accepted by many vendors. SNAP recipients are encouraged to visit the info booth and swipe their cards to use their benefits for locally-grown produce. When doing so, Alton Main Street will double their dollars, giving shoppers twice the buying power for fresh fruits and vegetables. The goal is to boost the sale of Illinois-grown food and provide access to fresh produce to low-income residents.

Starting in July, Senior Services Plus will be distributing Senior Nutrition Coupons at the Saturday market, which are vouchers for $25 worth of free produce to seniors 60+ who fit income guidelines. For more information on that program, contact SSP at (618) 465-3298.

At the markets, anything homegrown or handmade by the vendor is welcome to be sold. Anyone interested in becoming a vendor is encouraged to visit the Events page of to register. Pre-registration is not required, vendors simply show up one hour prior to start time to be directed to their booth space. You can receive reminders on what produce is in season, plus upcoming entertainment and activities at:

PHOTO: A scene from last year’s market.

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