This Saturday is the last outdoor Market of the 2012 season, but don’t worry, because the whole party is moving inside the Lincoln Square Mall next week. That makes this week a good opportunity to stock up on peppers in assorted colors, sweet potatoes, onions, butternut squash, garlic, and all sizes of pumpkins (to make pie, which freezes easily for the pending football and turkey holiday).
Apples from the Market also make a good pie, cake, or Canadian crisp, but you shouldn’t ever freeze them, you should just drive them right over to my house because between the two of us we already finished the entire apple cake that my mom made yesterday.
Speaking of delicious dishes, there will be bakeries and food trucks represented at the Market, along with that amazing toffee castle that always has free samples. I finally bought a jar of the stuff last week when I was hanging out with someone who’s not allergic to every kind of nut in the world and it was AMAZING. Keep up the good work, castle tent.
There will also be bulk stuff, like noodles and rice and honey, a range of cheesey selections, and, of course, your meat-ordering truck. Venison makes nice meat balls for your cheesey noodley creations, unless your guests are vegetarian or vegan, in which case that’s just mean.
For arts & crafts, there will be an array of cards, bags, hair clips, baby items, jewelry, and really neat melted wine bottle cheese plates. Those are so cool, AND recycled. Like a Prius (I assume).
The fifth row, near Vine Street, is home to an ever dwindling array of non-profits and other community organizations, plus lots of signs reminding you to VOTE ON NOVEMBER 6 (be a cutie, do your civic duty).
If you believe weather.com, it should be between 37F and 48F with rain and wind, because — where have you been, hiding in the landscaping department under a large fake rock in Menards with no access to Twitter or newspapers or a radio? That’s weird, you should come out … of the hurricane.
Despite the likely-to-be inclement weather, there is still a chance of music at the Market. An individual that I refer to as Mr. Tambourine Man often makes an appearance with his assorted musical machinations, so hopefully he will be under an umbrella this week.
MONEY MONEY MONEY: You can always pay vendors in untraceable, non-counterfeit bills in American currency, but you can buy tokens from the City tent using a credit, debit, or LINK card. The tent is located at the northwest entrance to the Market, near Health Alliance in the Lincoln Square Mall, which I recently found out is called “Lincoln Square Village,” which is a bit of a stretch IMHO.
WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH MY LIFE: The City tent has Illinois seasonality charts to help you decide which produce to buy, but you should probably just buy everything since it’s your last chance to do so for this year. They also have Market merch so you can advertise how much you like chickens on a t-shirt or bag.
MISSION: Go out and have a good time chatting up local growers, artists, and vendors (and your neighbors, if you see them) despite the inclement weather because at least the Market isn’t buried under 12 feet of water and sharks. Suck it up, wear a poncho, and get out in the effects of global warming on our small town that is part of the Earth spinning around on a sunbeam in the universe.
PARKING: Free public parking is available in the Lincoln Square Mall lot and the lot south of Illinois Street. There’s ample bike parking near the entrances to the Mall/Village, and west of the Market. Some of those bike racks are even clearly, if completely unnecessarily, labeled: BICYCLE PARKING, in case you were going to get confused and park your car and/or boyfriend on the sidewalk.
IF YOU HAVE MORE QUESTIONS: Check out the Market’s homepage; follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and/or Pinterest; check out their photos on flickr; email Interim Market Director Natalie Kenny-Marquez; or call (217) 384-2319. But don’t just breathe heavily in the phone and then hang up, because they probably have caller ID, and that’s totally rude. Man, what’s with you and hiding under rocks and generally being a creeper? Get it together.
IN CLOSING: The Urbana Market at the Square starts at 7 a.m. on Saturday and runs until noon in the parking lot of Lincoln Square Mall at the intersection of Illinois and Vine Streets, rain or shine, and it looks like rain.
This is the last outdoor Market of the 2012 season. Next week, the party will be moved inside!