LEXINGTON — The farmers market will return this summer under new management after a one-year hiatus due to COVID-19.
The Circle Pines-Lexington Lions Club will take over the management responsibilities from the Lexington Fire and Rescue Auxiliary, which had to end its 501(c)(3) status due to challenges faced by the pandemic.
“I and some of my fellow Lions were wondering what we could do to benefit the community, and we thought maybe we should take over the farmers market and give vendors the opportunity to do something strong and positive,” said Lions Club member Karen Gregory.
Gregory said the Lions visited with Lexington Fire and also spoke with city staff, who were excited about the idea and offered the use of city property for the market.
The market will kick off June 16 and run through Oct. 6. It will take place from 3 to 7 p.m. every Wednesday, and will be held in the Lexington Municipal Liquor Store’s back parking lot near Jackson Avenue and Woodland Road. The location is the same as it was in 2019. Prior to that, the market was held in the parking lot of the former Lovell building, the site now occupied by the Landings of Lexington.
“Very few people got used to it being in this new location,” Gregory said.
Had the Lions Club not stepped in, there’s a good chance there wouldn’t be a farmers market in Lexington.
“We’re doing our best to contact the vendors who were there in 2019 to give them first opportunity to come back,” Gregory said.
Gregory is also looking for other interested vendors. The Lions Club is specifically searching for vegetable and fruit sellers; food trucks; crafters; suppliers of breads, honey and jam; and woodworkers. As of press deadline, only three vendors had officially signed up.
“I just wrote letters to 13 area churches. Part of our goal is to get community involvement, so we have two community tables available at the farmers market (where) nonprofit organizations can come and share information, do education or fundraise,” Gregory said.
Each vendor will pay a small weekly fee and the Lions Club will use that money for community projects. Gregory said that the Lions Club does not keep any of the proceeds it raises.
“Every penny goes right back into the community,” Gregory said. She said last year most of the club’s fundraisers were canceled because of the pandemic.
One of the major projects the Lions Club supports is the Power Pack program, which provides a supplemental food source for children who may need a little extra help on having enough food available at home on the weekends.
Lions Club members will be involved in the market by helping with setup, maintaining vendor registration and helping to ensure safety measures — such as mask wearing and social distancing — are followed.
Currently, the Circle Pines Lexington Lions Club has about 15 members; there is always room for more. “A lot of the members are recently retired, and we don’t have a lot of young people in our group, but we’re trying to recruit and get more (people) involved,” she said.
Considering the current state of the world, Gregory said something like this is needed. She said she thinks it will be a profitable venture for the city just to build community.
“We need to pull together and be community, and that’s one of my goals — to see if we can get people talking and working together and enjoying activities like this to help make our community stronger and a better place to be,” Gregory said.
Anyone who is interested in being a farmers market vendor should contact Gregory at email@example.com or reach her at 612-272-3386.