PRAIRIE GROVE — Prairie Grove Farmers Market opens today with an estimated 20-30 vendors showing interest in participating this year.
The farmers market, sponsored by Main Street Prairie Grove, will be held off Buchanan Street in the vacant lot next to the former children’s library. It opens at 8 a.m. and closes at noon on Saturdays.
Rick Ault, market manager, said the farmers market has several policies, including the rule that all vendors must be a resident of Prairie Grove or live within a 25-mile radius of the Prairie Grove. The market is a “grower & maker” market only. Reselling is not permitted.
This is the second year that Main Street Prairie Grove has managed the local farmers market. Main Street Prairie Grove is a downtown network program of Main Street Arkansas and remains focused on historic preservation and economic vitality of Prairie Grove’s Historic downtown.
Ault, who is a Prairie Grove City Council member, also is the volunteer director of Main Street Prairie Grove.
Ault said the market was able to remain “active and even grow” in 2020, despite the covid-19 pandemic.
“Our vendors and guests did a great job taking necessary precautions to protect the health and safety of everyone during the pandemic,” Ault said through Facebook messenger. “I am hopeful we are on the downside of the pandemic; however, we also know we are not at the finish-line yet.”
For 2021, the farmers market is encouraging vendors and patrons to wear masks and observe social distancing measures. Ault is asking vendors to have hand sanitizer available and take various other precautions until it’s no longer necessary.
Along with the farmers market, Prairie Grove Historic Society is hosting a soft opening from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday for the new Prairie Grove Heritage Museum, which is located in the former used bookstore managed by Friends of Prairie Grove Library.
Ault, who also serves as a board member for the historic society, said he believes the cultural connections between the farmers market, Main Street Prairie Grove and the historic museum are a “perfect fit.”
From social media responses, Ault said it appears that the farmers market will grow again this year.
“The Prairie Grove Farmers Market (like Main Street Prairie Grove) is a place where the community can forget about the stresses of the week, enjoy the outdoors, and find amazing (and delicious) treasures along the way,” Ault said. “We have a great foundation to build on. We love other local farmers markets in Northwest Arkansas, however our desire is not to become just like them but to remain true to the culture and heritage of historic downtown Prairie Grove.”
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