City of Bloomington: Farmers market to reopen at usual time, place this Saturday

After announcing on July 29 that Bloomington’s farmers market would be suspended for the following two Saturdays, Mayor John Hamilton issued a press release on Tuesday Aug. 13 that announced the resumption of the farmers market.

Cropped 08.13.2019 farmers market - 1 (2)
The view northwest towards the City of Bloomington’s farmers market venue from the Morton Street parking garage. In the foreground is part of the 2013 sculpture “Illuminated Fruit” by  Andrew Huddleston and Amy Brier (Dave Askins/Beacon)

The farmers market will re-open on Saturday, August 17 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Showers Common, the usual time and place.

The general background for the temporary market closure was described this way in the City’s initial press release: “Since the recent public discussion of ties between a vendor at the market and white nationalist causes and groups, the City has identified increasing threats to public safety.”

The press release also hinted at more concrete reasons: “…[I]nformation gathered identifying threats of specific individuals with connections to past white nationalist violence, present the potential for future clashes.”

Tuesday’s release describes several measures meant to improve security and make people feel safe:

  • Cameras to monitor the site
  • Two public streets will be closed to traffic during market hours. The idea is  to create a larger “comfort zone” for the market crowd. (Morton Street from 7th Street to just south of the Smallwood garage entrance, and 7th Street between Morton and the B-Line Trail; 8th Street will be closed west of the market to the entrance of the Cook Medical Center).
  • Police presence will be increased.
  • New “market ambassadors” will welcome market visitors.
  • New signage will indicate areas designated for flyering and publicize the market’s rules.

The press release says people who want to become “market ambassadors” should contact the city.

For the last two Saturdays, vendors and others in the community have bootstrapped an alternate location out behind the east-side Bloomingfoods in the former Kmart parking lot.

The city issued a press release announcing an interactive Facebook livestream event on Monday (Aug. 12) to solicit more input on the future of the farmers market. Mayor Hamilton fielded questions that were left as comments on the city’s Facebook page. The occasion was used mostly as an occasion to review previous topics, handled at the July 31 press conference.

The final line of the release announcing yesterday’s FB live-stream event stated: “On Tuesday, August 13, Mayor Hamilton will share plans for how the market will reopen.”

The FB event still generated the expectation among many observers that some details of the market’s re-opening would be shared during the live-stream. Responding to a question from a vendor during the live-stream, Hamilton said he would announce on Tuesday how the market would re-open. By Monday afternoon, the city had not confirmed that the market would be open as usual on Aug. 17.


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