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WATCH NOW: Kenosha's outdoor farmers markets open Saturday
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WATCH NOW: Kenosha's outdoor farmers markets open Saturday

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Andrea Forgianni talks about assuming leadership of Kenosha HarborMarket.

When it comes to Kenosha’s farmers markets, this summer will be the summer of more.

Saturday is opening day for Kenosha HarborMarket and the outdoor season of Kenosha Public Market.

After a shortened season due to the pandemic, 2021’s outdoor markets will offer more Saturdays, more vendors and a return of live music and picnicking options.

The difference a year makes

Last year’s markets accommodated COVID-19 safety protocols such as the restriction of entrance access, the prohibition of eating purchased products on the grounds and no live music. In 2020, only products deemed “essential” were sold at market booths.

With the passing of a year, significant vaccination numbers and the lifting of some health restrictions, both markets are looking forward to expanding on last summer’s offerings, report their spokespersons.

Kenosha Public Market

Last summer, KPM showcased fresh produce and pre-processed food items and its pick-up service, KPM2GO as it debuted its first season in the parking areas between the Kenosha Municipal Building and the Kenosha Transit hub on 54th Street,

This past winter KPM held indoor markets at the Lakefront Dugout on 59th Street and more recently at The Vault, on the first floor of the former Kenosha Bank Building, 625 57th St.

With 70 vendors signed up for Saturday, expansion is the name of the game, said Laura Belsky, KPM treasurer.

“We will have more food processors and a few more artists, but our primary focus is on the farmers, rather it being an artists’ market,” she said.

“This year we also looked at vendors of Keto- and plant-based products. Sharper Brothers, a professional knife sharpener from Milwaukee, will also be a first for KPM,” she said. “We’re super excited to be able to offer this service to individuals and restaurants.”

Also new for KPM this summer will be a full slate of of entertainers staged in Veterans Memorial Park, 625 52nd St., and picnic tables at which patrons can enjoy the music along with their market finds, Belsky said.

Another new development is that dogs will be welcome on the market grounds. “Last year (when they weren’t allowed), our information booth became a dog care center,” Belsky said.

Parking for KPM will be in the green space along Eighth Avenue, with market entrances at 54th and 52nd streets.

Kenosha HarborMarket

This summer, HarborMarket marks its 19th outdoor season.

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Last summer, the late Ray Forgianni, HarborMarket president, called the season, “HarborMarket Lite.” He was referring to the abbreviated season and offerings available due to the pandemic. Forgianni died on Sept. 26 from complications of COVID-19.

In November, Forgianni’s daugher, Andrea Forgianni, was named the market’s executive director. Among the bright spots to this season is the return of live music, she said. “We already have a full slate of entertainment on two stages.”

Other HarborMarket highlights include benches and tables for outdoor dining, visits by the Kenosha Public Library bookmobile and the return of vendor booths for non-profit organizations (deemed “non-essential” last year).

“We are thrilled to welcome everyone back,” Forgianni said.

Vendor Recovery Act

Recognizing that the past year has been especially hard on small businesses, the HarborMarket board offered economic recovery grants to vendors taking part in its current season. It also rolled back its weekly vendor booth fees.

The intention of the grants has been to support low- to moderate-income vendors, Forgianni said. Grant funding has come in part from local businesses.

“The pandemic has been hard on all of us — physically, emotionally and economically,” Forgianni said in January when grant applications were announced. “We’re partnering with our vendors to help them come back stronger than ever when we open this summer.”

Some restrictions remain

Both markets will continue health precautions that including social distancing and sanitation protocols and face masks according to city ordinance. Per city health statutes, self-serve samples will also be prohibited, although some vendors may offer wrapped samples of their products.

Both markets run Saturdays through Oct. 30.

Kenosha Public Market

WHEN: Saturdays, May 8 through Oct. 30, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. To accommodate seniors, the market will open at 8:30 a.m.

WHERE: 625 52nd St., in the parking areas between the Kenosha Municipal Building and the Kenosha Transit transfer hub on 54th St.

DOGS: Allowed in market area.

Kenosha HarborMarket

WHEN: Saturdays, May 8 through Oct. 30; 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

WHERE: Second Avenue from 54th Street to 56th Street and along the Place De Douai.

DOGS: Allowed only along the perimeters of the market, not inside vendor-pedestrian walkways.

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