‘Market Square’ coming

To the Editor:

About a year ago, Mari Phelan, who grew up in Fairmont, wrote a letter to the community about an idea to develop a place in Fairmont that was a hip, exciting social, shopping and recreational destination with opportunity to buy and support local products and entrepreneurs. I was asked to facilitate discussion around this and have been meeting with 10 to 15 people, from a variety of community sectors, for the past year.

Our longer-term vision is to develop a “block” near the downtown area into a “market square” that provides a destination for the community to come together for shopping, socializing and recreation that would complement the existing community offerings. We fully expect this to be welcoming to diverse intergenerational, socio-economic and cultural audiences. The concept of the market square may include anchor businesses, artisan shops, food, recreation, housing and a broader social space that can be a gathering space as people go about their daily activities. There would be regular activities that support local talent, whether it is entertainment, products or intellect.

There is much excitement around this topic and the group desires to have activity in 2014 to test this concept. We didn’t want to jump off the cliff, but rather, just the bottom step. We have decided to build from existing activity already being offered by Heritage Acres. For 2014, we will be offering the “Fairmont Market Square” at the Heritage Acres site (we will be near the house and school, under the trees) during their four primary events offered each year.

There will be no entry fee for the market square. The dates of these events will be as follows and each market square will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

o Saturday, June 14 – IHD

o Friday, July 4 – Music Festival

o Sunday, Aug. 10 – Threshing Day

o Sunday, Oct. 19 – Harvest Festival

Each date will have at least five components offered that make up the overall Fairmont Market Square. These are: 1) Heritage Acres with all buildings open and traditional activities; 2) Artisan Vendors; 3) Food Vendors; 4) Farmers Market vendors; and 5) a diversity of entertainment for youth and adults.

Mark these dates on your calendar and plan to attend. We are still looking for additional vendors and local talent to participate. Contact me at (507) 238-5449 or linda@ruraladvantage.org with questions.

Linda Meschke,

president and founder

Rural Advantage

Fairmont