Market turns into community event

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The Westfield Famer’s Market will be rocking Friday night as Radio Disney returns to weekly community event full of activities, theme nights, and local produce, foods and crafts. Radio Disney opened the season in 50 degree temperatures and rain.

“People absolutely loved it,” said Downtown Westfield Association Executive Director Anne Poynter. “It was so much fun, the kids loved it.”

The market runs from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday nights through Aug. 31 on North Union Street, one block north of Main Street next to City Hall, 130 Penn St. A month in the market season and officials said the average weekly attendance is 800 people.

“It’s going pretty good. The old location was half of that,” said Poynter. “It’s still growing. More people know where it’s at. I like to see our numbers double to 1,500.”

Because the market is held on Friday nights, organizers face two adversaries – traditional weekend shoppers and heat.

“We have a challenge – Friday night is hot,” said Poynter. “A lot of people are into the habit of going to Saturday morning farmer’s markets.”

Poynter said the market currently has 45 vendors and booth space available.

“We paired down vendors,” she said, adding the market focused on adding more produce vendors. “We had a lot of craft people last year.”

The Westfield market is five years old. Last year, the market moved from its old location on U.S. 32. While it provided more visibility, parking space was an issue, booth space was limited and U.S. 32’s traffic was becoming heavier with other ongoing construction projects.

To create a community event, the farmer’s market offers some form of entertainment each week. Upcoming events include Kids Night with Radio Disney, Friday; Master Yoo’s, July 13; Country Night, July 20; Corn Night, July 27; Kids Night with Radio Disney, Aug. 3; Salsa/Tomato Night, Aug. 10; Back to School and Boy Scout Night, Aug. 17; Family Night, Aug. 24; and Founders Night, Aug. 31. Live musical performances include Steven Hocker, July 13 and Aug. 10; Jen Spencer, July 27, Aug. 17 and 31; and Jon England, Aug. 24.

“It’s one of my favorite (DWA) events,” said Poynter. “I love the energy it creates downtown. It’s a great event.”

For more information on the Westfield Farmer’s Market and other Downtown Westfield Neighborhood Association events, visit www.dwna.org.