BY JENNIFER BAILEY
With summer just around the corner, the Downtown Danville Farmers’ Market and Summer Sounds concerts kick off outside events in the downtown area next week.
The Farmers’ Markets will start Wednesday and will run Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to noon through Oct. 5.
The markets are at the Danville Public Library lawn, 319 N. Vermilion St.
Items throughout the season will include: corn, potatoes, green beans, melons, tomatoes, muffins, pie, cinnamon rolls, bread, cookies, soap, body scrub, jewelry, bows and lawn decorations.
“We have a good mix of former vendors coming back and quite a few new ones coming,” said Downtown Danville, Inc. executive director Dana Schaumburg.
There could be five to 10 vendors in the initial weeks at each market, with the number growing throughout the season, Schaumburg estimated. She said some vendors already have committed to coming Wednesdays and Saturdays for market days.
Schaumburg said the local produce vendors are larger and smaller growers from Vermilion County and surrounding areas.
The market has expanded its base a little, but all items are locally homegrown and homemade, she added. Some of the big draws are strawberries, sweet corn, kettle corn and the baked goods.
Schaumburg said she especially likes the baked goods because “I don’t have a lot of time to bake.”
Other items can include plants for landscaping, herbs, jams, salsas, cucumbers, lettuce and fresh-brewed iced teas.
“Any time you come there’s always a variety to look at and buy,” Schaumburg said.
Danville Public Library Director Barbara Nolan is excited about the redesigned library lawn space, that will include sidewalks for more handicapped-accessibility and a stage, where the farmers markets and library events take place.
The first few markets will be in the library employee parking area north of the Vermilion County War Museum to allow for finishing of the sidewalks, curb cuts, soil and sod work. The library and city are working together on the improvements.
Farmers’ market customer parking will be on the north side of that parking lot while vendor parking and booths will be on the side by the war museum.
Nolan said originally the space was to be another parking lot.
“We saw the real value of green space …,” she said of events taking place there.
She said the war museum also could have outside events there.
“It’s a nice area for community events,” Schaumburg said.
The cost for a vendor to set up at the farmers’ market is $5 per market day.
Schaumburg said interested vendors should register at least one business day in advance through the DDI office to sell goods.
The DDI office is located at 149 N. Vermilion St. DDI’s phone number is -443-3886. Its e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Look on Facebook for the latest information on the farmers’ markets: facebook.com/DanvilleFM.
Also starting May 24 are the free, annual Summer Sounds outdoor concerts downtown at Temple Plaza, at the corner of North and Vermilion streets.
The Summer Sounds Concert Series, presented by CellularOne, starts with the group Monkey’s X from 6-9 p.m. on May 24 at the Temple Plaza stage. Food and drinks start at 5 p.m.
The series is put on through a partnership between DDI and Danville AMBUCS. AMBUCS, a national non-profit service organization, is dedicated to creating mobility and independence for people with disabilities.
The rest of the concerts are the first and third Fridays from June 7 through Aug. 2. The other dates, also from 6-9 p.m.: Alex Jenkins & The Bombers Blues Band on June 7; Mike Dangeroux Orchestra on June 21; Just Us Band on July 5; Outbound Drive on July 19; and Duke Tomatoe and the Power Trio on Aug. 2.
Information can be found at the website: http://www.summersounds.org.
AMBUCS Sergeant at Arms Janet Myers said half of the proceeds from the concerts (sponsorships, etc.) go to the local AMBUCS organization and is used as needed for projects.
“It’s a nice evening. You can bring your chairs or stand around,” Myers said.
She said it’s nice to see a lot of different people you might not have seen in a while, like old friends and former high school classmates.
“It’s just a family atmosphere to get together,” Myers said. “It’s a nice social event.”
County Market will again provide burgers, brats and other food, in addition to another vendor providing other food options.
“Come down early, eat and set your lawn chairs out,” Schaumburg said. “It’s a bigger crowd every year.”
Schaumburg said there will be lots of giveaways as usual. There are evening sponsor openings still available, she added.
The Illiana Antique Automobile Club also will have a car show downtown during the first concert on May 24, and the last concert on Aug. 2.
Funding that goes to DDI from the concerts helps with putting on events.
DDI also has a new website at http://www.downtowndanville.org.
The website still is in the updating stage, Schaumburg said, but there is a more user-friendly calendar of events, business directory with photos and division of businesses into areas of interest, and other information such as about available properties downtown.
“It’s a really nice addition,” Schaumburg said of the new website.