Memorial Day may have been the official kickoff to summer for many, but for others, the season doesn’t truly arrive until the farmers markets open.
Kirklanders will mark the start of market season with the opening of the Juanita Friday Market tomorrow and the Kirkland Wednesday Market next Wednesday.
“Farmers markets bring produce directly from the farmer to the customer,” Kirkland Wednesday Market manager Jeni Cordoba said.
“(They’re) a great place for community, you can meet up with people from your neighborhood…all the while supporting your local economy,” Juanita Friday Market manager Tina Lathia added. “It’s a nice community gathering.”
The Juanita Friday Market, organized by the City of Kirkland, starts Friday afternoon at 3 at Juanita Beach Park, 9703 N.E. Juanita Dr. It will run from 3-9 p.m. every Friday through Sept. 29.
The market features a variety of local produce, fresh flowers, hot prepared foods, handmade products and other items grown and produced in Washington state. Lathia said they have a lot of new vendors, especially on the food side, both in prepared items and produce. She said the new vendors will be offering a variety of organic, gluten-free and vegan items that haven’t previously been available at the Friday market.
“We have a lot of specialty items this year that we haven’t had in the past,” Lathia said, that adding one of the new vendors, Marmo Silks, will sell scarves and pocket squares that can be designed by customers onsite at the market.
In addition to items for sale, the market also has a variety of activities and live music planned for its 10th season. The first Friday of every month, including tomorrow, will be a kids’ day, featuring a variety of activities including crafts, giveaways and live performances.
To coincide with the market’s opening, the Kirkland Youth Council is also hosting its 17th annual Bluefish Festival, a music and arts celebration featuring performances by local bands and musicians, artwork on display, other activities and food. It runs from 4-7 p.m. tomorrow at Juanita Beach Park.
A food truck rodeo is planned for June 30; the July 28 market will feature a health fair; Aug. 25 will be wellness day at the market, and the last market on Sept. 29 will feature a harvest fair.
“Every year, we try to change up the events a little bit,” Lathia said.
For more information about the Kirkland Friday Market, including a complete list of vendors and volunteer opportunities, visit kirklandwa.gov/juanitafridaymarket.
“It’s a fun place to volunteer, because you get to be outside at the market — it’s very lively,” Lathia said.
Kirkland Wednesday Market
Next week, the Kirkland Wednesday Market will return to Marina Park, 25 Lakeshore Plaza, for its 17th year. The market will run from 2-7 p.m. every Wednesday through Sept. 27.
Just like the Friday market, the Wednesday market features a variety of vendors, ranging from local produce and hot meals to handmade products. The Wednesday market, organized by the Kirkland Downtown Association, features almost 80 vendors total, with about 70 at each week’s event. Cordoba said it’s the largest number of vendors they’ve ever had and they had to turn away interested parties.
“We have a lot of new food vendors…and we have some new vendors with products geared toward kids,” she said. “We really want to get families more involved.”
In addition to the vendors, Cordoba said a variety of special events and activities are planned for the market. The first market and a couple others will have a family friendly scavenger hunt available for those who are interested.
“People can connect not only with the farmers and vendors, but the community as well,” Cordoba said.
While the vendor list is fairly full (some specialty slots are still open), the market is still seeking volunteers. Co-manager Linda Yates oversees the market’s volunteers, and a description of the volunteer tasks can be found on the market’s website, kirklandmarket.org, along with a form to sign up.
More information about the Kirkland Wednesday Market, including a complete list of vendors, can be found on the market’s website as well.