It’s Saturday morning and there’s an amazing aroma in the air and an exciting buzz around downtown Columbus. Everyone either seems to be walking in the same direction as me or walking towards me carrying some glorious goods.
Today is the opening day of Columbus’ farmers market! Huzzah!!
I have been going to the market since moving here and I’ve always enjoyed it and usually bump into someone I know, and it turns into a whole social event.
This year is a little different though, I am not by myself, my daughter is old enough to appreciate what is on offer, it’s mostly the allure of cakes and pastries that have tickled her fancy. So, I have my list of bits and bobs I want to buy, and she has hers, and off we go.
As like the rest of the world, Columbus is in the grips of COVID-19 so we have our masks on and our hand sanitizer to protect ourselves and others around us. However, much to my pleasant surprise the farmers market has hand sanitizing stations, is encouraging everyone to wear a mask and respect social distancing. All the vendors were wearing masks, and some were even providing opportunities to pay without contact though most are accepting cash, credit/debit cards and checks.
A New Market Location
The market has changed locations this year moving from Jackson Street parking lot to the space behind City Hall (123 Washington St, Columbus, IN 47201) from 9 am-12.30 pm. It is all paved so very stroller friendly and there is SO much parking available, including handicap. However, if you fancy a stroll you can also park downtown and visit some of the wonderful small businesses. Downtown street parking is unlimited time at the weekend and the multi-story parking lot is also free all weekend. The market runs from now right up until the third week of September.
What You Can Find at the Market
Farmers markets are great places to purchase locally grown produce, flowers, arts and handcrafted items. As it is a community event, its not unusual to see fundraisers and information stalls.
This week there’s a whole host of vendors at the market, Amish flower and vegetable stalls, vegetables and fresh flowers from farmers, a cookie stall who sells a wide variety of cookies, a fresh honey stall where you can buy honey in the honeycomb! A micro herb stall, Goats Milk & stuff stall which sell products made out of goats milk, such as lip balm, soap, lotions to name but just a few things, Lucabes coffee stall selling yummy cinnamon rolls, Lucabes merchandise and the freshest coffee, there are also stalls selling all different types of fresh bread (that’s the gorgeous smell, mmm!) and also the bike co-op who had a selection of bikes up for sale. This is also a very handy place to park your bikes to be looked after whilst you go shop and enjoy what is on offer.
What to Expect at the Market
Wondering about with my daughter in our masks seemed very surreal but it was made easier by everyone else doing the same, though we did observe some funny moments of miscommunication due to muffled speech!
These new times and our new normal is a little bizarre but we found both vendors and consumers were friendly and positive. The hum in the air hung around the current situation and how people are coping with their lives being restricted, but people still go on.
Dogs are welcomed to the event but as per usual you are responsible for your pet and ensure you pick up any little messes.
In past years there have been food vendors and live entertainment all with public seating provided, with children dancing around, having fun and parents relaxing. However, due to COVID-19, this year this will not be available. It was a little strange not having a band playing whilst perusing the stalls and not being able to see each other properly due to our masks but still, everyone was in good spirits. There will be no public restrooms this year either. However, as I mentioned the Farmers Market is a 5-minute stroll from Downtown Columbus where you will find Special Dogs, Buccettos, Lucabes, Ramen, 4th Street, a Mexican and don’t forget Columbuses famous Zarharakos all of which have public toilets and some pretty delicious food.
More to See in Columbus
You could always make the most of free, unlimited parking and extend the day by visiting the beautiful Mill Race Park with its paved walkway along the river and playground (currently closed due to COVID-19 restrictions). Mill Race is also walking distance from City Hall, around 20 minutes but on a hot and humid day you may wish to drive instead. If so, it has ample parking available. If you’re feel a bit more adventurous, Columbus is a 30-minute drive from Brown County State Park which is now open to the public. It costs $7 for a car from Indiana State and a little more I believe for cars/persons from out of state.