The final piece of summer in Laramie is set to fall into place this weekend with the start of the Downtown Laramie Farmers Market.
From 3-7 p.m. Fridays through the end of September, the downtown district will be filled with vendors selling fruits, vegetables, baked goods, bread, prepared food, drinks, arts and crafts, honey, jewelry, cheese, candles, fudge, coffee, preserves, pottery, salsa, candy and more.
Live music on the First Street Plaza provides the soundtrack to the shopping.
New this year, the market will be located in the parking lot north of the Laramie Historic Railroad Depot, near the corner of First and Garfield. That’s a change from previous years, when the market was situated on city streets in the downtown district.
“We’ve done that because it gives us a little bit extra space,” market manager Lindsay Olson said.
“The market is growing.”
The new location allows room for a few more vendors — Olson estimated there would be about 40 each week — plus more room for shoppers to spread out.
“There will be more green space where you can sit and eat your lunch and listen to the music,” she said.
While the market usually kicks off the first weekend in July, the schedule was moved up a week this summer to accommodate a break July 13, during Jubilee Days.
Olson said the market’s new location creates a conflict with the Jubilee Days carnival. As well, Jubilee Days has a separate street market that has created confusion in the past with vendors.
“It gets a little complicated with our vendors showing up in the middle of the day and trying to leave right during the music when that’s trying to start,” Olson said.
So, farmer’s market organizers decided to skip Jubilee Days this year, allowing interested vendors to work directly with Jubilee Days if they want to be part of the street market.
“It’ll still look like a market — a lot of arts and crafts vendors will be there, a lot of food vendors will be there — but it’s just relieving some of the double-booking,” Olson said of downtown events July 13.
Different live music acts are scheduled for each week, starting with John Will today and Going Nowhere on July 6.
Olson said the acts are a mix of local and touring groups, with an updated schedule to be posted on the market website and Facebook page, as well as in a weekly Boomerang ad.
She also expected a few pop-up performances throughout the summer from local organizations.
The market is set to continue its practice of matching dollars spent through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. Thanks to weekly sponsors, shoppers can bring their SNAP card to the market manager’s booth and receive a 100 percent match in tokens that can be spent at vendors selling items such as produce, bread and meat.
“It’s making the farmer’s market a little more accessible to a lower-income population in the town, and bringing fresh food to that group,” Olson said.
Market patrons include a mix of people, from tourists spending the afternoon in town to students back for classes to residents who come to meet up with friends.
“With locals, it’s a mingling time,” she said. “It’s important for us as a destination place. You don’t just come and buy your groceries and leave.”