By Nathan Pace
Southsider Voice correspondent
The Southport Farmers Market will begin year No. 3 of selling fresh produce in less than a week. Market master Nancy Miller says it will be easy for customers to notice the growth of the market from its inaugural year.
“We’ve grown three times the size since starting,” Miller said. “We are looking for a permanent location, something we can call our own.”
Opening day is May 12 at Bethel Community Church, 2810 E. Southport Road, where vendors will be available from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. every Tuesday and from 3-6:30 p.m. Thursdays through October. With it being early in the season, not all produce will be available yet.
“Starting in May, there won’t be a lot of fresh vegetables unless they have greenhouses,” Miller said.
Homemade items will be in supply, including breads and cheeses. Craft items will also be available. “One vendor makes some top-of-the-line jewelry using only precious stones,” Miller said. “Only there for a short time until the product is sold out.”
Stemming from the growth of the Southport market and offering vendors more exposure is the new stand at St. John’s United Church of Christ, 7031 S. East St. “A lot of vendors will be doing both,” Miller said “It’s actually easier.”
Vendors will come from as far as Bloomington, Trafalgar and Greensburg,” said Miller, who added that the key to running a successful market is to not come across as competing with other ones.
“Everyone that manages markets tries to stay out of the way of the other farmers markets,” Miller said. “You can’t overstep your boundaries because they are doing other markets.”
Miller uses Facebook and a website at www.southsidefarmermarket.com to spread the word on the types of vendors. She also gives advice to those hoping to plant a garden.
“Pictures are taken of the items that are going to be there that day.”
Southport Parks Director Marylynne Winslow issued a challenge while speaking to the City Council during its April meeting.
“You’re welcome to bring a dessert for our pie contest (at the Southport Spring Festival). I’m looking forward to some friendly competition,” Winslow said.
The annual festival, which runs from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, will be bigger than ever with expanded activities such as a pie contest, a motorcycle show and a pet parade – all free of charge. The event will also include food and merchandise vendors, live entertainment, bingo, an art contest, the sale of flowers and plants, a children’s zone and a raffle for a Harley-Davison.
People can see how the city is thriving and everything it has to offer, said parks board member Linda Banta, who’s spearheading the event. “I wanted to create a variety of fun, unusual events that would attract a variety of festival-goers.”
Pets, pies and motorcycles can be registered between 9 and 11:30 a.m., with winners announced at 1, 1:30 a.m. 3:30 p.m.
The pet parade – complete with a police escort starts at noon. Other pet-related activities include low-cost immunizations and an adoption fair.
Singers from Clinton Elementary will perform at 11 a.m., with the Random Harvest Band taking the stage at 1:30 p.m.
Visit southportevents.org for more information.