As the weather warms, Oak Street Farmers Market prepares to enter its 2020 season this week.
The farmers market was revitalized by a group of community members — Holly Bieri, Laura Distler and Grind owner Chelsea McGill — in 2019, after a number of years of the event not taking place. This year, the first day for the market will be 8 a.m.-noon June 6.
Bieri said each market will have a special theme, including Saturday. The theme for this weekend will be "Kids in the Biz," as children will join with the market's regular vendors to sell their creations. Another themed day is already set for later this month on June 20, when the market will host "Dog Days" and will be joined by Premium Pets for a market themed by pets with a grooming station available and leashed pets welcome.
The market will be open on the first and third Saturday of each month, save for a pair of Thursdays — June 11 and July 2 — when the market will be open from 4-8 p.m. The July 2 market replaces that week's Saturday date, due to the Fourth of July holiday.
The final market of the season is set for August 15, when the season will culminate with a new event for this year — the Ready, Set, Grow 5K. The 5K was originally supposed to kick off the season in May, but Bieri said the circumstances surrounding the coronavirus pandemic forced those plans to adjust.
Bieri said another new addition this year will be the involvement of Heather Fletcher with Agriculture Education on the Move. Fletcher will give 30-40 minute presentations, including fun lessons and activities for children, at each Saturday market starting at 10 a.m.
"It'll be a fun, interactive thing for the kids to come out and do," Bieri said.
Bieri said this year, Mose Hershberger's Wisdom Valley Farms will again be the market's main produce vendor, and other vendors from last year will return with produce, baked goods, jellies and jams.
Bieri said there will also be special care taken to ensure customer safety in light of the pandemic.
Bieri said organizers will be adding picnic tables this year for seating but will be holding off on that until social distancing orders are eliminated. Vendor tables will be spaced 6 feet apart to adhere to social distancing, and the market will provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers for customers to use. Bieri said organizers will also frequently clean and disinfect any objects or high-touch surfaces.
Bieri said for the sake of customer safety, she and others involved with the market ask that customers stay home if they are feeling sick or have recently been exposed to COVID-19. Bieri said the group also asks customers be patient while making purchases, maintain proper space between others and choose items with their eyes rather than touching items.