West Linn Farmers Market kicks off season in Renaissance style

Expanded market offerings will celebrate Summer Solstice
by: vern uyetake West Linn Farmers’ Market Manager, Miles McAvoy, plans to revitilize the market this year.  The kick off event includes a Renaissance theme, music, fanfare and lots of fresh, local produce.

Kicking off its 2011 season as a new and improved vendor of fresh, local produce and goods, the West Linn Farmers' Market will introduce its reinvented form just in time for the Summer Solstice.

The new, revitalized market will open for business June 22 from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Historic Willamette district, and West Linn's Historic Willamette: A Main Street Community is lending its organizing expertise to the market for its season opener, acting as host of the event.

'Historic Willamette, rich with the lore and lure of its converging rivers and mighty waterfall, is the right place to welcome summer,' said Diane Bays, owner of Healthy Spaces and a member of the Farmers' Market Task Force.

Soaking up the extra daylight hours, the market's season opener will take on an Elizabethan theme for the celebration and Renaissance-style entertainment for all ages.

And the fun is staggered throughout the evening, Historic Willamette Main Street board member Midge Pierce explained.

West Linn's local historic conjurer Danny Schreiber, host of the city's annual Turn of the Century Living History Tour, will act as master of ceremonies at the event.

Local singing quartet Time After Time will serenade market-goers, and this year's Old Time Fair Princess Court will make an appearance.

At 7 p.m., the Bridgetown Morris Men will perform Elizabethan-era English song and dance, dressed to the letter in bells, ribbons and era-appropriate attire. Throughout the evening, roving minstrels and jugglers will make their way through the market, along with Canterbury Lords and Ladies as they prepare for the Canterbury Faire and Jousting Fest in Silverton next month.

Swashbucklers from St. Helens' Portland Pirate Fest ,along with some feathered friends, will also make an appearance.

For the market's young visitors, performances of 'Rapunzel' will be held in a puppet theater. West Linn's Giggles the Clown will be providing pirate sketches.

Play2Grow is also facilitating a variety of role-playing games, including swordplay, castle-storming and archery competitions.

The revitalized West Linn Farmers' Market will also feature the return of Wellness Wednesdays to the district with ongoing health and healing demonstrations by Healthy Spaces. A sustainability booth will occupy this space on alternating weeks.

Healthy Spaces' first appearance will remain true to Renaissance form, as healing baskets and garlands of herbs and flowers similar to those worn by Summer Solstice celebrants of the age will be available for purchase. A percentage of the proceeds from this sale will benefit the West Linn Food Pantry.

Local merchants will also host a sidewalk sale and a food court will offer Renaissance-style roasted fare.

Running through Aug. 14, the market will continue to entice visitors with high-quality produce presented through original themes each week.

Future events incude a spring greens festival, a berry explosion for Fourth of July, animal tricks, treats and training during the dog days of summer, and a flower fest in August in which super foods and aromatherapy will be featured.

The West Linn Farmers' Market is located between 12th and 14th streets on Willamette Falls Drive, off Exit 6 off I-205.

For more information about the Summer Solstice Celebration, visit www.historicwillamette.com. For more information about the market, visit westlinnfarmers-market.com.

The celebration is hosted by West Linn's Historic Willamette: A Main Street Community with major funding by presenting sponsor Albertsons and supporting sponsor Pacific West Bank. Additional funding has been provided by the Willamette Neighborhood Association, Les Schwab's West Linn branch, Allium French Bistro, Healthy Spaces, Play2Grow, Gelfand Insurance, BJ Willy's Public House and Eatery and BJ Willy's Woodfired Pizza.