The Lacey Community Market offers food, flowers, crafts and collectibles - but the monthly market is as much a festival as it is a farmers market.
The market, starting its season Saturday, began as a traditional farmers market with hours every Saturday and Sunday all summer long. But three years ago, the city decided to make a change.
“We’ve created three summer events in Lacey,” said market manager Sharon Kagy. “They are only one day, and people know that they have to put it on their calendars and they can’t put it off until Sunday.”
Kagy, of Olympia, came up with the idea to shift the market more toward antiques and collectibles.
“The Olympia Farmers Market is such a success,” she said. “I go there all the time. It didn’t make sense for Lacey to try to duplicate that because it’s so close, and Tumwater is trying to build their market also, and I thought, ‘Let’s relook at this.’ ”
On Saturday, the market has a home and garden theme. Besides a lineup of vendors selling crafts, antiques, collectibles and produce, the day will feature music by The Johnny Lewis Band, swing dancing by USA Dance Olympia and an appearance by garden expert Marianne Binetti, who’ll answer gardening questions and sign her books.
The monthly market has had trouble attracting farmers who need a regular venue for their produce, but the Olympia Kiwanis Club, which grows vegetables for the food bank, and Left Foot Organics both sell there.
Terry Carr of Lacey, who owns the hotdog cart Mustard’s Last Stand, has been with the Lacey market since it began as an every-weekend venture seven years ago.
“I know all the folks, and it’s fun,” Carr said, although he believes the market would be more successful in a different location. “Every market they have a band going. They have all kinds of things going.”
In August, the theme is pets, with a microchip clinic and Fido’s Farm doing a dog agility demonstration and leading games for dogs. The day also will include bluegrass music by Cricket By the Hearth and the Grays Harbor Banjo Band.
“An unbelievable number of animals show up on that day,” Kagy said. “Some are big; some are tiny. It’s really a wild day.”
And September is Family Day, with a balloon twister, a tumble bus, dancing and performances by the senior-citizens choir Forever Young and Planet Percussion.
The change to a monthly format made a big difference for the market, Kagy said.
“Our first year, we had about 60 vendors, and the foot traffic was really, really good,” she said. “And last year, we averaged 77 vendors at each market and 2,000 people a day coming through.”