By Kristen Miller
DASSEL, MN Plans are in the works as the Dassel Chamber of Commerce gears up for its first-ever farmers’ market scheduled for the Friday before Red Rooster Days.
The project is a coordinated effort between the City of Dassel and its chamber in that the market will be operated by the chamber on behalf of the city. A unanimous vote was taken by chamber members at last Tuesday’s meeting to make that official.
The council is also in support of the project, and formal action will be taken at tonight’s meeting.
The location of the farmers’ market will be at Bandstand Park, on Atlantic Avenue next to the railroad tracks. The time will be from 2 to 7 p.m. to allow for commuters to take advantage of the local market, said Wayne Medcraft, project manager.
There is approximately enough room for eight vendors to have 20-foot spots in the park, according to Medcraft.
Medcraft, along with the mayor and city administrator and the committee responsible for Hutchinson’s farmers’ market, have been working on the details since April, when Mayor Mike Scanlon proposed the concept.
“It should be a really successful venture,” Medcraft told the chamber.
“We see the benefits it’s going to bring to everybody,” he said.
Medcraft would like the market to have a “festive atmosphere” and is hoping to have music in conjunction with it, especially for opening day.
This year’s season will only be eight weeks long and is expected to go through late October, depending on the weather, Medcraft said.
The cost for vendors to participate for an eight-day season is $24, or $6 for a one-time vendor pass. Passes can be obtained at a farmers’ market meeting Monday, Aug. 2 at city hall.
Next year, Medcraft is hoping to have the farmers’ market open sooner.
Developing signage has been discussed, along with advertising to promote the event. The chamber is looking into signs to direct people downtown on the day of the market, as well as permanent signage in the park.
Atlantic Avenue, parallel to the park, will not be closed off during Friday market hours.
However, parking will be limited to the north side of the street. The south side, nearest to the park, will be reserved for vendors, according to Medcraft.
Medcraft and the chamber of commerce is looking for a market manager. A person with previous market management experience is preferred.
This person would be responsible for regulation compliance and dues.
Interested parties should contact Medcraft at (320) 275-9200. Interested vendors are also encouraged to contact Medcraft.
A boost for businesses
Downtown business owners like Rob and Connie Walters, owners of Thirsty’s Tavern, are looking forward to the farmers’ market bringing more people into town.
“[The farmers market] is absolutely a positive,” said Rob Walters.
Bob Wilde, owner of Wilde Studios, said the farmers’ market is a very good thing for businesses in town.
“It will draw more people into town who might not otherwise come here to shop,” Wilde said.
Mary McCauley, owner of Jilly Bean clothing store, is also looking forward to having a busier downtown.
“People are curious about what a ‘Jilly Bean’ is, or what I sell and ultimately, a farmers’ market increases my foot traffic and customer base,” she said.
“A farmers’ market in Dassel not only helps local growers and businesses, it brings consumer dollars back into our community,” McCauley added.
Farmers’ market meeting
The farmers’ market meeting will take place Monday, Aug. 2 at 2 p.m. at the Dassel City Hall for those interested in registering as a member.
Here, members will also receive 2010 rules and regulations on what can and can’t be sold at the market and how to stay in compliance with the MN Department of Agriculture.
After registering, market members can obtain their stall assignments.
Other chamber items
The chamber decided to have a movie in the park night during Red Rooster Days.
The movies “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” will be showing at 8:15 p.m., Friday, Sept. 3, at the Saints Field in Dassel.
Concessions will be available.