Friday, November 7, 2008

The Party's Over (for 2008, at least)

Well, Market nerds, November 8 is upon us... and the first (or second, depending on where things fall on the calendar) Saturday of November marks the end of the outdoor Market season.
In seasons past, when I was a regular (and slightly fanatical) patron and not supervising things, I would attend the last outdoor Market, whatever the weather, and find myself getting all sad and nostalgic for the mornings of Saturdays past. I'd talk vendors' heads off that last day. I'd buy stuff I didn't really need. I'd look around for my friends so I could have someone to talk with as the season wound down for good right in front of me on that last day. I would finally take my stuff to my car and just sit there, feeling empty.

Just so you know, nothing's changed for me. I guarantee you I'll be doing all of the above tomorrow.

Aw, guys, it's been such a great season. Even with the torrential rains in June and July, even with the wacky weather affecting produce availability all season long, even with the Moo Mobile leaving us in August - it's been AWESOME.
I want to thank the excellent Market staffers who got up early and worked without complaint in all kinds of weather, occasionally dressed up in costume for special events, listened to my rambling, and handled patron feedback with humor and grace. I MUST thank every single vendor who sold their wares this year, every single community group who set up this year to let us all know what was going on, every performer who played/sang/danced/spoke/made balloon art, and every single patron who came out, whatever the weather, to support Urbana's fantastic open-air Market, one of the largest and best of its kind in the entire state of Illinois. Without all the players, it wouldn't be the experience it has become for so many over the years - and the experience it will become for the new patrons that venture out every year.

A slightly different version of the Market, called the Holiday Market, opens in Lincoln Square Village on Saturday, November 15, at 8 A.M. The Urbana Business Association does a terrific job of showcasing local art, craft, and produce vendors in a winter holiday atmosphere. If you're wondering who's scheduled to be there, give the UBA a call at 344-3872.
I'll be hanging out at the Holiday Market selling Market at the Square T-shirts and tote bags (they make terrific gifts for the Market nerds in your life), but my thoughts will be drifting toward spring, because...
... Market at the Square's 30th season opens May 2, 2009, and there's a lot to do. I'll be blogging here on occasion to keep people posted about local food events, stuff that's newsworthy, etc, but also to muse about what's on tap for next year. Keep us in your feed reader!
Thanks again, everybody.