Marquette farmers market moving downtown

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The Marquette Farmers Market is moving from the Driftless Area Wetlands Centre to the city park downtown this season. It will open this Friday, May 22, and continue every Friday evening, from 4 to 7 p.m., through the first week of October. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

When the Marquette Farmers Market opens for the season this Friday, May 22, it will be in a new location. The Marquette Council, at its May 12 meeting, approved a move from the Driftless Area Wetlands Centre to the city park downtown, at the intersection of First and Edgar streets.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on the vendor roster for at least the first part of the market season. Current state restrictions for farmers markets limit vendors to selling only farm and produce products—no arts and crafts or food to be eaten on-site. The market is not allowed to provide common seating or entertainment at this time, although that may change as the season progresses.

“Several of the vendors are also in the vulnerable population and weren’t comfortable,” added Alicia Mullarkey, director of the Driftless Area Wetlands Centre, who spoke with the council about the move.

With slightly fewer vendors, “we thought they might have more visibility under the bridge,” she said.

Mayor Steve Weipert supported the idea, in hopes it will bring more foot traffic to the city’s downtown. The market will operate every Friday evening, from 4 to 7 p.m., and could also be boosted by people attending Friday night music cruises on Robert Vavra’s Maiden Voyage tour boat, which boards in the marina across the street.

“He does quite well on Friday nights, so we’re hoping some of those people would stop at the farmers market also,” Weipert said. “Let’s see how it works.”

The Marquette Farmers Market is a rain or shine event that will continues through the first week of October. It provides an opportunity for the community to support local growers. 

The market will adhere to the recommendations set forth for farmers markets to reduce the possible spread of the coronavirus. Customers can help by having only one member of the household attend the market and shopping efficiently. Customers and vendors should continue to practice social distancing, and only one person will be allowed at a vendor at a time. Hand sanitizer will be available at each vendor station.

New vendors are welcome to participate in the market. If you or someone you know is interested in being a vendor at the Marquette Farmers Market, please contact the market manager at (563) 873-3537 or driftlessareawetlandcentreia@gmail.com. Follow the Marquette Farmers Market on Facebook for up-to-date information about the farmers market.

City holds off on opening Depot Museum

In other business from last week’s meeting, the council agreed to hold off on opening the Marquette Depot Museum and Information Center for the season, citing concerns over COVID-19.

“As much as I want to get back to work, I really don’t care for what the governor is doing. I’m in a vulnerable population, and my husband even worse,” said staff member Deidre Vick-Froehlich.

“I will go back if the city comes up with a strategy of how I operate inside as far as disinfecting and cleaning. I’m at a loss as to, when people come in the door, do I chase them around and watch everything they touch and spray?” she continued. “I will also be wearing a mask.”

The Depot Museum typically opens in May, but council members felt it would be best to wait and see how the next few weeks go. They’ll discuss a potential opening date at their next meeting on Tuesday, June 8.

City cleanup rescheduled to May 30

The council approved rescheduling city cleanup to Saturday, May 30. To adhere to social distancing guidelines, workers will not be able to help residents unload items as much as they have previous years, said city clerk Bonnie Basemann.

“So it will take a little longer,” she added.

Dog issues discussed

Mayor Weipert said several instances of dogs running lose or threatening people or other animals have been reported in Marquette. He warned owners to control their pets or they could risk losing them.

Public works purchases approved

The council approved several public works purchases, including a new replacement pump at the sewer plant for $7,756. The SCADA computer, which controls many operations and provides data at the sewer plant and city wells, will also be upgraded for nearly $25,000.

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