Farmers Market Opening Day
Our return to normalcy has to include the return of the farmers market… specifically the Downtown Marquette Farmers Market which opens the outdoor season tomorrow at the Commons.
Market Manager Sara Johnson says, “We’re very excited to have a more robust market this year, but things are still not quite what they used to be.” They’ll still be following Safe Shopper Guidelines, but with almost 50 U.P. vendors spread out around the commons, the farmers market experience will be the flavor of the day.
One vendor, Barrel + Beam, is looking forward to introducing their products to the market crowd, with proven favorites and some new flavors too. “In addition to giving our “off the beaten path” brewery a downtown presence, we’re thrilled to connect with locals in a new way,” says co-owner Marina Dupler.
“Showcasing Michigan agriculture in our ales, ciders and wine is a cornerstone at Barrel + Beam. Fans of our Rightful Cider can expect 8 variations to be rolled out at the market this summer, including Blackberry cider, Juniper and Lemon Balm (with botanicals sourced from Big Bay), and a Cranberry Mead, made with U.P. honey and Michigan cranberries.”
New this season at the market is The Community Table, located just outside the market’s main entrance. This table is reserved for local businesses, nonprofits, and groups, as an opportunity to connect with the Marquette Community. This season, shoppers can interact with local groups such as Social Justice For Us, Start the Cycle, and Marquette-Alger RESA Health Education among others.
The market is open Saturdays from 9 to 1. Look for Wednesday evening markets beginning in June. For more information about the market and Covid restrictions, visit www.mqtfarmersmarket.com.
A Picnic meal, and more.
Yes, there is a free lunch… at the Memorial Day Community Take Out Picnic at Presque Isle.
Local do-gooders T Hamari and Dave Aro want their friends, neighbors… and everybody else, to get outside and commune with nature and other humans, and enjoy a free picnic lunch on Presque Isle. Not sure if we can call this an inaugural event since it may just be a one-off intended to celebrate the near end of the pandemic. Regardless, in this case, we’ll take our hats off to Hamari and Aro for the effort.
Yes, there’s a meal, but this doesn’t have much to do with ending hunger… a hot dog and a bag of chips are more fun than fuel.
No, this is more about two people who want to do something, anything, that will help bring people together, in person and in spirit. Hamari explains the motivation. “Our only goal is to get folks out of their homes, moving around and enjoying our beautiful community. This is our way of saying “Thank you! We did it. We made it through the pandemic, we are a strong community, that joined together to keep folks safe and healthy!”
Hamari is no stranger to giving back. You’ll see her at all kinds of events that benefit people other than herself, donating, and working the crowd to get others to donate too.
And Aro’s just as bad, or rather… good. A member of several area service clubs and also a familiar face at charitable events, he doesn’t let many holidays go by without making sure everybody has a full belly.
Thanksgiving, Christmas, and now Memorial Day, along with service club BBQs and other feedbag happenings, are just a few of the ways Dave gives back. He says, “I’m lucky enough to know how to do these events and have friends like T that can make it happen.”
Neither one are good at tooting their own horn. They just see something that needs to be done and they do it. And they usually drag a bunch of their like-minded friends along for the ride, and cleanup.
According to Hamari, “Dave’s main reason when he proposed this idea to me was simply to get our friends together again. Many of us haven’t seen each other in over a year or more. What better way to gather again than to give to the community we love and has given so much to us.”
Though they’ve received some anonymous donations, most of the tab is being picked up by T and Dave. They’re also handling the grilling and meal prep and everything else that goes into organizing a community picnic.
One catch… you have to reserve your meal in advance. Go to Memorial Day Community Take Out Picnic on Facebook to sign up.
Again… this is more than a meal. Says Aro, “If anything, I hope it shows that ANYONE can do something to help make the world around you a better place, it just takes a little work.” And folks like T and Dave.
Live music… coming back to life.
As restrictions are lifted, so are the spirits of live music fans. More and more of our area venues are scheduling bands as they optimistically look to a summer that looks and sounds like summers past.
Harvey’s Lake Superior Smokehouse Brewpub as well as the Dry Dock are both promoting live music on a regular basis.
The Up North Lodge in Gwinn has released their Sunday night lineup for the season and it starts this Sunday. A bunch of different bands are scheduled for the patio performances that are always tied in with a local charity. Visit the Up North website for more info on that.
The Ore Dock’s Kris Wierenga says they’re ready to pump up the volume once again. “We’re dipping our toes in the musical waters once again and it feels so good! We’re kicking things off with the Derrell Syria Project on Saturday May 29th. After that, we’ll begin regularly booking music throughout the summer and into the fall and winter.”
And good for him, he hasn’t lost his sense of humor. “Going from over 200 concerts a year to zero has been a bitter brew (yeah, that was intended) but we’re happy to have been able to hold on long enough to once again host local, regional, and national touring artists.”
At Blackrocks, co-owner Andy Langlois says they’re getting back in the game too. “We’ll be gradually reintroducing live music outside as we roll into summer. We’re currently outdoor seating only, but fortunately we expanded our patio last year and have a tent that allows for a fair amount of seating.”
The Stage… the up-and-coming music studio operating in the Westwood Mall, is following up its Music at the Mall events with a gig this Saturday night when a loose-knit group of area musicians are getting together… to play together.
Event organizer Mark Werda explains, “Live music has suffered due to pandemic restrictions. In celebration of these restrictions easing up we decided to host a Post Pandemic Jam meant to be a free musical outlet for all the musicians / listeners who have been itching for a public venue since the onset of the pandemic.”
Basically, our area music types are ready to get back out there after more than a year of limited opportunities. This event looks to be pretty informal, but if you’re also ready to get back into the live music scene, this is a good gig to start with. It’s open to the public and planned for 7 to midnight. More info is available at the Wrecking Ball Facebook page.
In other Words…
It’s nice to share info about events happening, rather than events canceling. Let us know what you’ve got going and we can share that too.