I love my job.
I love writing, too, but I’m talking about my part-time job as the manager of the West Side Farmers Market.
Our opening day is this Saturday, and I’m way behind getting ready for it, though I did manage to catch up a bit yesterday. At this point, the event would happen even if I didn’t show up for some reason. It’s a huge stone, rollin’ down hill. It’s best to just get the hell out of the way.
Why do I love it?
For a few reasons, actually. One, it’s a weekly party in my neighborhood, sans booze–which is a big sans for sure, but not a deal breaker. Last year we averaged a couple hundred of our fellow friends and neighbors each week, and once they came, they stayed, sometimes for a couple hours or more.
There’s lots to do and experience at our little market. There’s always music, and of course, veggies and fruits. But there’s also the Icy Cup–our host–serving up hot, mini donuts, breakfast burritos (made with ingredients from the market), ice cream, tacos, burgers, dogs, and my personal favorite (tongue in cheek): Steve’s Veggie Wrap, which the owner, Pompeyo, named after me because he knows I’m a die-hard carnivore from hell, and would never be seen eating a veggie wrap. He actually wrote my name next to the offering, on the menu board. I’m thinking of having fun with it this summer. I think I’ll promote the idea of customers taking a ‘Steve’s Veggie Wrap Selfie’ at the market!
People also hang out because there’s a great little space under the pergola for them to drink Pompeyo’s premium Mexican coffee, and talk with their friends and neighbors, while the kids run around the market, draw pictures on the pavement with sidewalk chalk, and dance to the live music.
Thanks to a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, which was put together by Sara Udvig, a local artist, and Christine Shyne, director of the West Side Community Organization, we’re also going to have 13 different artists at the market, throughout the season, creating fun art projects and engaging those at the market, who will help create the projects.
Along with that, we’ve added four more Festival, theme days on the third Saturday of each month. June 18th it will be Walk and Roll to the Market, focusing on how people come to the market each week. Hopefully it will coincide with a bike tour that our local, neighborhood organization is working on.
July 16th is going to be Play Date at the Market, which is gonna be a blast! Silly Miss Tilly will be at the market, with balloon art, smiles and laughter. She’s planning a balloon art project which she will build with the help of the kids, and parents.
August 20th is Beautifully Ugly Veggie Day, when we will celebrate all the funky shapes and size of vegetables, especially those that would normally be thrown out by the food industry because they aren’t ‘perfect’. There will be a contest for the most bizarre, beautifully ugly vegetable, and other fun activities.
September 17th, will be Best Side Day, a celebration of all the amazing cultures on the West Side of St. Paul, which IS the BEST SIDE. There will be dancers, food, music, art, and activities to represent the diversity of our neighborhood, which makes it the best side.
October 15th will be our 4th Annual Harvest Festival, sponsored by Growing West Side, the umbrella organization that runs the market. It’s always a huge event, with all kinds of fun stuff to do, listen to, and eat!
We’re also planning another Holiday Market and Brew at Wabasha Brewing Company, for sometime in November.
The main reason I love my job, is because of the vendors who come every week, all of them amazing, fun people, and the customers–my neighbors–, and especially the volunteers who make the whole thing possible. They are my extended family, and I love them all.
This was Day 29 of the Year Long, Daily Blog saga…