Columnists

Where to Park When the Farmers Market Opens

(The Times photo by Betsy Reason)
Noblesville Main Street executive director Kate Baker (left) and Noblesville Farmers Market manager Maggie Williams talk about the parking and other logistics of the market, which opens today for the season at Federal Hill Commons.

What’s the Noblesville Farmers Market going to look like this season? Where are market-goers going to park? Will there be any handicapped-accessible parking? Will the restrooms remain open? How is the Farmers Market going to happen with construction work in progress?

These are all questions that folks have been asking, being that the Noblesville Farmers Market opens today for the season.

Despite the Federal Hill Commons surface parking lot being closed and under construction for Noblesville’s $50 million Village at Federal Hill apartment/parking garage project, the parking for this year’s Farmers Market will still be plentiful, with more than 400 parking spaces available, said Kate Baker, Noblesville Main Street’s executive director.

For market-goers, there is newly designated nearby parking and more handicapped-designated parking.

For a small number of vendors who rely on their trailers and need to park close to their booths, as they did in the plaza, there are new parking spaces created in the Noblesville Parks’ Green Room parking lot at Federal Hill.

Besides a few parallel parking spaces along Logan Street, Baker noted a freshly striped-off parking lot at the location of a former Mexican restaurant (west of Wendy’s Restaurant) that was torn down just west of the park. She noted the usual parking spaces at BlueSky Commerce, also just west of the park. And she noted that parking would be available again this year across Indiana 32/38 in the Riverview Hospital overflow parking lot. A police officer at Indiana 19 will direct pedestrians across Ind. 32/38 during the Farmers Market.

What about handicapped parking? The Green Room parking lot already has a handful of lined-off handicapped parking for daily use. However, I suggested to Baker that with the loss of the park’s nearby surface parking lot, that there needs to be more handicapped-designated parking. So when she met with Noblesville Parks executive director Brandon Bennett later the same day as our interview, Baker and Bennett decided that the entire Green Room parking lot — other than parking spaces restricted to assigned vendors — would all be handicapped-designated every Saturday morning during the Farmers Market.

Places not to park: Kroger and INB National Bank.

While the restroom building will be torn down eventually, the current restroom facilities will be untouched this summer and are expected to remain open all season during the Farmers Market. The picnic seating area will also remain untouched.

Baker is anticipating high attendance this year at the Farmers Market. She said Main Street has secured at least 90 vendors, about the same number as previous years, for each week of the market, which continues through Oct. 15.

Vendors will be assigned to the Plaza as usual, plus around the sidewalks. There will be no vendors assigned on the circle drive, as previously, so that marketgoers can use the drive for dropping off and picking up passengers and for picking up larger purchased items at the market. Vendors can also drive on the wide sidewalk to the spaces for unloading and loading.

Live music will be on the amphitheater stage and in the area in front of the men’s restrooms, depending on the size of the performance group.

Green space in front of the amphitheater will serve as community space for Shine Yoga (First Saturday of every market) and ABC Ballroom free kids dance classes on select Saturdays. Kids Days are July 16, Aug. 13, and Sept. 17 are sponsored by Community First Bank of Indiana.

Baker said they would bring back help from local Boy Scouts, who will help any vendors set up and tear down as part of their community service volunteer hours. “They’re just here to help lend a hand,” she said. “We’re excited to have their involvement again. It shows that community spirit that Noblesville is so known for.”

There is a large schedule of nonprofit organizations signed up for each week of the market. Their location has been moved, from in front of the women’s restrooms, to an area closer to the park’s circle, for ease. Cost is $30 per organization with openings still available.

This year’s market manager is Maggie Williams, who coordinated the market in 2019. She said there is still some additional vendor space available.

“We’ve tried to do what makes sense for the vendors, as far as where they’re being placed,” Williams said. Also, rates for vendor space has increased from previous year.

And another good thing to know, she said, is that SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits are accepted at the market.

If Williams looks familiar, you might have seen her working part time at Lil Bloomers children’s boutique and at NobleMade gift shop on the Square. She also owns and operates Jaws Food Truck with her husband, Adam, a chef, and they offer made-from-scratch jambalaya, seafood gumbo, pulled pork and butter beignets. Jaws Food Truck was a vendor at the park for four years and visited during Food Truck Fridays in the past.

Speaking of food at the market, people sometimes attend the Farmers Market for breakfast. There will be an array of breakfast items, from biscuits and gravy to cinnamon rolls, chantilly crepes, breakfast sandwiches, coffee vendors, homemade breads, veggie and meat pies, and more, both Baker and Williams chimed in on items on the list. A Noblesville Main Street tent will offer maps of the market.

The market partners with Hamilton County Harvest Food Bank, which is at the market every week accepting leftover perishable items from the vendors. Find the food bank today under a tent.

Baker said, last year, our Farmers Market, thanks to the participation of vendors, donated more than 8,400 pounds of food to the food bank. “We anticipate that and more this year, which is very exciting. That’s a huge component of our Farmers Market. I think it’s something that really sets us apart as our commitment to helping food insecurities.”

While people “are a little apprehensive about the parking,” Baker said she expects this season “to be just like any other.”

Baker said, “I absolutely understand people’s concerns … and there may be some work going on, but all very contained, all very safe.” On this particular day, a worker was cleaning the plaza with a pressure washer, readying for today’s market.

“From a Main Street lens, I am really excited that we are able to be here in Federal Hill,” said Baker, who looks forward to watching Dick Gordon’s project, a Bridge of Flowers, to be created on Logan Street Bridge. “I can’t wait to see how people who visit the Market will maybe start to realize that downtown Noblesville or the Square is just not that far. And that a short walk across the bridge, this beautiful Bridge of Flowers, takes you over into our regular merchant shops.” For those who park downtown Noblesville, and who like to walk, parking is available in The Levinson parking garage and will soon be available in the Hamilton County parking garage, which will have its ribbon cutting on May 13.

“We’ve tried to do what makes sense for the vendors, as far as where they’re being placed,” Williams said.

Baker expects this season to be just like any other. “

“It’s been a wonderful collaboration with (Noblesville) Parks & Rec and Old Town (Companies) construction to keep in the know of what’s going on and how we can support each other.”

Baker said, “We’re going to make it as great of an experience as humanly possible.”

– Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com.

Want TO GO?

What: Noblesville Main Street’s Noblesville Farmers Market.

When: 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays through Oct. 15.

Where: Federal Hill Commons, 175 Logan Street, Noblesville.

Who’s in charge: Maggie Williams, maggie@noblesvillemainstreet.org

Info: https://www.noblesvillemainstreet.org/farmers-market