The Carmel Farmers Market Prepares for a Safe Winter Market Season
As the Carmel Farmers Market (CFM) wraps up another remarkable season—amid a pandemic and unprecedented challenges—all of us at Carmel Monthly wanted to take a moment to thank the dedicated and selfless volunteers at CFM who will be going straight into the winter market season without any breaks in between the last two market seasons. The Carmel Winter Market at the Wire Factory, presented by IU Health North Hospital, will open without delay on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, and will operate every Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon until the end of March 2021.
Carmel Farmers Market President Ron Carter shared the committee’s COVID-19 plans for the winter market that have been approved by the Hamilton County Health Department.
Safety for All and Supporting Local Are the Top Priorities
The CFM committee is taking measures to ensure a safe and successful market for all concerned while continuing to support the local vendors who continue to rely on market-goers to remain viable in these challenging times. As we venture into the fall and winter seasons during the pandemic, it is important to remember that we need to support our local farmers and purveyors if we wish for them to be there throughout and beyond the pandemic.
“We have looked at all of the things that we can do at the winter market to help visitors, vendors and volunteers—all three—to stay as safe as possible in that environment,” Carter shared. “And so, we calculated our occupancy load, and we are well under the maximum load. We were able to determine that we’re well under [the maximum load] because over the last few years, we have kept half-hour by half-hour attendance figures, and we know that we will not exceed the maximum number of people in that space. That data has allowed us to start planning for the [winter] market with confidence.”
Just as the CFM committee redesigned the summer farmers market, it has applied the same methodologies to the winter market.
“One of the first things we did was to determine the best way to achieve physical distancing was to create a one-way path through the winter market,” Carter explained. “We took out the ‘cage’ where people had been able to sit and eat. The folks at Pedcor [Management Corp.] were gracious enough to let us remove the cage permanently, and we’ve been able to extend vendors back into that space and make our one-way walkway go back through that extended area and loop around.”
Carter went on to explain that the market would need both an entry and exit with this design, and so where the overhead door is, volunteers created a false wall with a door behind the overhead door to create a new entry to the winter market. Market-goers will exit through what had been the entry in previous years.
“We made the space so that it can accommodate 37 vendors and their canopies inside the building—without the tops,” Carter said. “The vendors’ canopy frames will hold the clear plastic shields that we purchased to go along the sides and back of the frames to help with social distancing. Additionally, we’ve have reduced the number of vendor personnel and market volunteers that will be allowed this season.”
Additional Changes and Additions to This Winter Market
While it is the committee’s hope to have some level of holiday entertainment at the winter market, the market will not be hosting live entertainment on Saturdays as it traditionally has out of an abundance of caution for its vendors, visitors and volunteers alike.
“Food for consumption will be sold at the market as it has in past seasons, but it’s our hope that our guests will purchase it to take home,” Carter stressed. “We will not be prohibiting eating at the market, but we will not be able to have tables or chairs set out for them this season.”
While it seems there are many changes to the market, there has been a positive addition that will hopefully add some merriment and whimsy to the ambiance at the market this winter season.
Once again, internationally renowned graffiti artist and muralist Jules Muck with Muck Rock has blown through town in typical “Jules Muck fashion” to create her second mural for the market featuring her signature bunnies.
Muck began her career as a graffiti artist in Europe and throughout the U.K. in the ’90s. She has been published in numerous books and has worked on numerous collaborative projects with notable muralists and fellow artists.
“We had heard that Jules was coming back through town, and we were able to get with her to create another mural for the market,” Carter said. “It was interesting and fun to sit and watch her paint the mural.”
Please join us in supporting the efforts of the dedicated and hard-working CFM committee and vendors this winter and come out to the Carmel Winter Market—opening Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020!
Visit carmelfarmersmarket.com for more information on the Carmel Winter Market, safety protocols and other market-related information!