Farmers market brings Ashby community together for the artsPublished 11:18am Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Thursday night in Ashby has been given a new twist this August. From music to movies and hamburgers to arugula, the city park has played host to something special.
The Ashby farmers market and community festival kicked off this month with the town’s first night of local food and artistic performance. Featuring a movie and music in the evening, the community enjoys a meal while local farm vendors set up shop along the park’s perimeter.
Since opening night on Aug. 1, the gathering has witnessed growing interest. Over 100 people were served the first night by the Ashby FFA, one of four non-profits to serve a meal at each event, and even more showed up for the fun the next week.
“My expectation is that we’ll have more people there every week,” said Val Martin, city clerk in Ashby and one of the event’s organizers.
Martin said the farmers market was in the works between community members for some time. Supported by a grant from the Lakes Region Arts Council, the art dimension brings a unique twist to what is becoming a popular trend for city and towns across the country.
“It’s just to fill that arts gap,” Martin said. “We want to get the good word out on the arts.”
Performers included a variety of musical genres and the movies have been musical to comedy features. The different mediums have been used to not only keep attendees both entertained and thinking about the art they’ve encountered in many different aspects of their lives. Attendees also receive information on the history of the art form and specifics on the evening’s film.
The arts promotion has been a major plus for bringing in members of the community.
“The arts commission has been really great with jumping in and getting things done,” Martin said. “We’ve just had a whole group of people come help out from the community, and that’s a very positive thing about it.”
The event has paid off for vendors as well. For Bryan Simon and his wife, Jessie, from Lakeside Prairie Farm near Barrett, the Thursday nights are a great way to sell their food and meet new people from the area.
“There are so many people who come back and you really get to know them,” Bryan said. “We just love the great community atmosphere that is here.”
But for Martin, the event has brought something new to the community. Seeing so many people exposed to new things has been rewarding, according to Martin.
“It’s just fun to do something different than the activities we’ve done over the years,” Martin said.