ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JANET HAMOUS
This summer there will be one more reason to visit Burns on Friday nights when a farmers’ market opens in the park area between Burns’ two restaurants.
The market will be held every Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., June 11 through Sept. 17.
Burns City Clerk Carolyn Koehn said Friday was the natural time for the market because so many people are in town.
“Both our restaurants are open and people are already here,” she said. “Besides, everybody else does it on Saturdays.”
Musical groups will perform in the park’s gazebo during the market.
“Our dulcimer club will play, and we will bring other groups in to play,” she said. “You can count on good music on Friday nights.”
Becky Walters, who operates Walters’ Pumpkin Patch on U.S. Highway 77 south of Burns, is organizing the market. She said a core group of vendors will be there regularly, but others are welcome to participate as they are able.
“It doesn’t have to be an every-Friday-night commitment,” she said. “Most people don’t have that kind of time.”
She said the full-time commitment often scares off the hobby gardener or baker, so the Burns market will be flexible to accommodate everyone.
“It is income for a few of us so we are pretty dedicated to it,” she said. “But if somebody is a good baker and wants to bring some loaves of bread for a little extra cash in their pocket, we would certainly welcome them.
“With the community of Burns being as ag oriented as they are, we really think there will be a lot of people joining us maybe just one or two times when they have some surplus tomatoes or something like that.”
Vendors from all over are welcome.
“We’re not limiting people,” she said. “If they want to participate in our market, we’ll welcome them with open arms.”
Walters encourages people who are interested in being vendors to come and try it.
“People don’t have to have a pop up tent,” she said. “All they need is a table to put their things on and maybe a few little signs.”
The price is right, too.
“We’re not charging a fee this year,” Walters said. “We want to get the word out that we’re doing this. As we grow, we might have to charge a booth fee in coming years to help with advertising. But not this first year.”
Walters said they don’t have a lot of rules for vendors like some markets do.
“We’re not real competitive. We don’t set prices. We all try to keep within the same price range, but we’re not going to boot somebody out because they have a lesser price,” she said. “We don’t operate that way.
“We’re out to have a good time. If my tomatoes are picked over, I’ll say, ‘Hey, go down to Kristi’s booth; she’s got some good looking tomatoes down there.’ We’re all working together on it.”
Walters said that in addition to produce and baked goods, the market will offer fresh flowers and potted perennials.
Craft vendors are also welcome, she said.
“In fact on Sept. 3, we’re going to have an invitational craft day for anybody that wants to participate in crafts and set up a booth,” she said. “We do ask that they’re not purchased crafts and are something that they’ve at least produced a part of.”
They are planning a variety of special events during the season.
“One weekend we have set aside for sweet corn,” she said. “We’re going to call it ‘Sweet Corn Dip’-you can dip it in the melted butter. That time of year it will be hot enough to melt without a heater!”
She said the last Friday evening of the market season will be a kids’ night.
“If kids want to come and have a lemonade booth or sell rocks or whatever they can set up their own booth,” she said.
The idea for the market has been a year in the making and community members put in many volunteer hours creating the park area where the market will be held.
“They just put new sod down to have pretty grass in there,” Walters said. “They’ve really gone all out to make this an event. We’re just planning on partying in Burns on Friday night.”
Anyone interested in participating in the market should call Walters at 316-320-4150.