For one last Thursday this year, Carla and Renee Brecke of Shellsburg set up shop in Vinton’s Celebration Park for the final farmers market of the season. The mother-daughter duo bring out their wares, with Carla bringing out the packages for food recipes and Renee displaying her hand-sewn fabrics for the kitchen.
“It’s our first year coming out here and we’ve been out here each week all summer,” Renee said. “They opened it up to crafters. We’ve sold in Urbana and other markets over the years. I do the sewing, [Carla] does the cooking.”
The Vinton Farmers Market opened up on July 2 for the first time in Celebration Park. Ryan Anderson, Assistant Director of Vinton Parks and Rec, was cognizant of guidelines put out by the state to slow the spread of COVID-19 as the event was planned out for the season. Hand sanitizing stations were set up in the park, vendors were distanced and patrons were encouraged to wear masks.
“We felt we would be able to provide an in-person, safe farmers market this year,” Anderson said. “It ended up working out very well. We couldn’t have samples or entertainment this year, which I think would have drawn more people if allowed. It took people a few weeks to learn about the new location, but they eventually came.”
The Breckes enjoyed the scenery at the park and were able to sell popular items such as microwave bags, dry mixes for soups and bowls with fabric handles.
“The people out here are very friendly,” Carla said. “All of the vendors are very friendly too. We’ve seen good crowds out here and the park is beautiful. We definitely enjoy it out here.”
While Anderson hopes guidelines will be relaxed by next year’s farmers market, he feels they are ready to provide another safe environment next season and hope to have entertainment available for patrons. The market will continue to be held at Celebration Park due to the success the venue provided.
“People enjoyed the scenery honestly, being able to look out at the river,” Anderson said. “I couldn’t have been happier without this year and the fact we were even able to have a farmers market. It’s a great opportunity to provide our local vendors as well as citizens of Vinton.”