Fresh and locally grown produce will be the highlight of a new and improved farmers market in Chadron this summer, encouraging regional residents to support local growers and downtown businesses while they enjoy the venue.
A joint effort between the Chadron Chamber of Commerce and the Dawes County Travel Board will see the Northwest Nebraska Farmers Market launched this summer. A steering committee is organizing the event, said Chamber Director Gabby Michna.
“We want to turn it into more of an event,” said Derek Ray, a chef who is part of the steering committee.
The Northwest Nebraska Farmers Market will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday from July 20 through Sept. 28 at the Downtown Plaza in Chadron.
The steering committee is working on ideas to make the farmers market an enjoyable place to spend a few hours on a Saturday. Ray said he will provide cooking demonstrations, and they are in search of individuals interested in providing entertainment in an open mic-type forum.
“We want to give it a sense of energy,” Ray said.
The group wants to create a roughly 70-30 ratio on the vendors, with 70 percent offering food, and 30 percent offering other items, like homemade crafts, he said. They haven’t set a limit on the number of vendors, hoping to attract as many as possible.
“We hope to be able to tell people no,” Ray said. “That’s a good thing, I do believe.”
Vendors will be asked to provide their own 10x10 tents, and Michna said the First National Bank of Chadron should cast a nice shadow on the plaza during the farmers market. Someday, with the city’s plans to develop the plaza further, it will be ideal for events exactly like this.
“Long-term we need to continue to focus on the bigger picture,” she said.
Vendors interested in taking part in the Northwest Nebraska Farmers Market can contact the Chadron Chamber of Commerce. The steering committee has established a price structure of $100 for the season or $15 per Saturday.
Those who would like to take part in the open mic-style entertainment can either show up at the farmers market spontaneously or make arrangements with Michna.
The steering committee also hopes the farmers market will create additional economic returns for the business district and encourages those attending the events to shop locally.
“It’s an opportunity for downtown businesses to open their doors,” Michna said.