Fall festival closes out farmers market season

Published 3:00 pm Monday, October 18, 2021

The Boyle County Farmers Market on Saturday hosted a fall festival in Constitution Square Park to celebrate the last market of the season. The event was complete with face and pumpkin painting, contests for dogs, music from guest Keith Williams and more.

Executive Director of the Danville-Boyle County Chamber of Commerce Jeff Jewel said the event also included photographing dogs of the market whose owners wanted them to be included in a montage of the canine BCFM family. BCFM intern Erin O’Leary said they took photos of people’s dogs during the event and entered them into contests like best smile, most loyal and best dressed. She said the contests were a homage to the positive energy the dogs brought to the BCFM “every time.”

Reflecting on the 2021 market season, Jewel said it went well, and it had similar sales and attendance to 2020. Jessica Merrick of Shooting Star Farm, a regular vendor at the market, said of this season and the 2020 season that during COVID-19, she thinks the market has been a good escape for people to have in their Saturday routines.

Margaret Levi, who runs the Margaret Levi Jewelry vendor, said people have enjoyed the opportunity to get out and shop safely in the fresh air. She said she’s seen an uptick in attendees of the market in the past couple of years.

A few obstacles the market faced were more bad weather days than in previous years, Jewel said, and increased COVID-19 cases were “noticeable on attendance during the spike,” he said.

“Finding staff and volunteers has been difficult in both 2020 and 2021, but that’s true everywhere,” Jewel said. “I’d say we are most proud of continuing throughout the pandemic to provide a safe, open air option for purchasing fresh foods directly from the people who grow it. I feel like the live music, picnic food offerings and the very social, festival-type atmosphere have meant a lot to the community during times like we’ve experienced during these past two seasons.”

Jewel said before the festival that he looked forward to wrapping up another season at Constitution Square “on a beautiful fall morning,” and that the BCFM is planning events to take place during the off-season.

“We would also like to thank our farmer members, guest vendors, volunteers, musicians, and especially our season sponsors Boyle County Fiscal Court, Community Farms Alliance and the Danville-Boyle County Chamber of Commerce,” he added.