SALEM Farm markets to begin

There will also be a strawberry festival downtown Saturday.
SALEM -- A little bit of the country will come to the city this weekend when the first in a series of farm markets is held downtown.
Vendors offering a variety of produce from area farms and gardens will set up from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday in the municipal parking lot at West State Street and North Ellsworth Avenue.
"We're wanting to showcase fresh, local produce," market director Linda Kurtz said of a primary reason behind the event. Another goal is "to encourage people to come to the downtown," Kurtz explained.
The farm market is being sponsored by Salem Renaissance Inc., a private, nonprofit group of area residents and business people dedicated to promoting Salem's central business district.
The markets will be from 8 a.m. until noon every Saturday through the summer and early fall until the growing and harvesting season is complete, which may not be until October, Kurtz said.
About 15 area farmers and gardeners are expected to show up for Salem's first market.
Contact information: There are spaces for 20 vendors at the location, so anyone interested in becoming part of the market is asked to call Kurtz at (330) 332-3163.
Kurtz added that she hopes the weekend markets prove successful enough to outgrow the parking lot at West State and North Ellsworth.
If that occurs, the event may be moved to one of the larger municipal parking lots downtown.
Vendors who bring produce or other items, such as crafts or pies, to the market will pay a $75 fee for a seasonal vending pass that will be good for markets throughout this year.
One-day vending passes are available for $10.
Proceeds from the fees will go to the Salem Renaissance, which is advertising the markets and serving as a liaison with the city in organizing the event.
The farm market won't be the only activity set for downtown Saturday.
The Salem Historical Society is sponsoring several events, including a strawberry festival set for noon to 4 p.m. at the society museum, 208 S. Broadway Ave.; and free guided tours of the historical First United Methodist Church, 244 S. Broadway Ave. The tours will be conducted from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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