Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Nature’s bounty will be more abundant than ever at the Lockport Community Market, whose third season begins today on Canal Street.
Four farms and a local cooperative, Santarsiero Produce, will be regulars at the market, which is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday through Aug. 24. That’s the largest number of local growers ever at the market, according to coordinator Heather Peck.
Joining Santarsiero Produce, which has been a vendor every year, are: McCollum Orchards LLC, a working farm in the City of Lockport, supplying organic produce; Epic Blue Acres, supplying free-range eggs and heirloom vegetables; White Willow Farms, supplying organic heirloom and rare produce, garlic, free-range eggs and some crafts; and Windy Acres Farms/Horticulture, supplying cut flowers, bouquets, herbs, perennials and annual flowers.
Also signed up to staff the market every week are Dispenza’s Meat Market, which sells natural beef, pork and chicken, homemade specialty sausages and other local products; and Chrusciki Bakery, offering fresh baked goods including their famous Buffalo Angel Wings and Placek, Danish, cinnamon buns, cupcakes, baklava and half-moon cookies.
“We have some old favorites and some new favorites this year,” Peck said.
The summertime, open-air Community Market, launched in 2011 to increase visibility of Canal Street in the heart of the Lockport Locks Heritage District, is staffed by a variety of local small businesses: farms, wineries, independent retailers, artisans and craftsmen.
So far, two wineries, The Winery at Marjim Manor and Victorianbourg Wine Estate, and a dozen non-farm vendors are signed up to “work” a booth one or more Saturdays this year.
On any given day, the bazaar could showcase herbal potions and “shabby chic” home accessories, bath-and-body products, hair products, premium coffee, cocoa and fudge, hand-crafted jewelry, glass works, sewn and crocheted items, clocks, photo frames and/or mailbox art. American Cancer Society will have a presence to promote its Aug. 25 “Bark For Life” dog walk fundraiser at Day Road Park.
Live entertainment is scheduled every week. Today at the Canal Street gazebo, the Dixieland band 23 Skidoo is performing at 10 a.m. and a troupe from the Historic Palace Theatre will present a preview of the upcoming musical Les Miserables at 1 p.m.
The nearby Erie Canal Discovery Center got in on the Community Market act last year by hosting children’s activities. These were such a hit with parents, Peck said, there’ll be more of them this year, plus new, one-time Saturday programs for adults, such as a bread making class.
Also today, Lakeview Animal Sanctuary will have a petting zoo; and painted works by local artist Manning McCandlish, featuring Lockport and the canal locks, will be on show on the second floor of the Discovery Center.
Every Saturday, all the while the market is open, the Discovery Center will host a “shiny new penny” scavenger hunt for kids. In addition, Flight of Five canal locks walking tours, guided by the local character-reenacting Step Back In Time Players, start at 11 a.m. The tour passes through the market on the way to the locks.
The range and quality of vendors at the Community Market is increasing every year as Canal Street becomes a destination in its own right, according to Peck. The Locks Heritage District is abuzz after the opening of businesses including Sweet Ride bike rentals and Lake Effect Ice Cream on Canal Street, the new Lockport Cave Tour ticket office around the corner on Gooding Street.
“This is a place to be now, a place where vendors want to be. We’re pretty excited about it,” she said.
Vendors, entertainers and special activities for the season are still being scheduled; to see who’s signed up by the week, visit www.LockportCommunityMarket.com.