Farmers Markets opens Summer season ready to open on 18th Street Plaza

The 2020 season at the 18th Street Farmers Market will be different this year as organizers follow the governor's directed health measures to help minimize potential exposure to the COVID-19 viirus. The Farmers Market opens the seaason on Saturday from 8-11 a.m. at the 18ith Street Plaza in downtown Scottsbluff.

The Scottsbluff Farmers Market, a sure sign that summer has arrived, starts up again on Saturday, June 6. The market will be held from 8 to 11 a.m. at the 18th Street Plaza in downtown Scottsbluff.

Market manager Megan Koppenhafer said this year’s market will be different because they’re following the governor’s directed health measures to minimize potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

“We will be assuring there’s six feet of space between vendor booths and making sure people are maintaining as much social distancing that one person can manage,” Koppenhafer said. “We’ll also mark six-foot distances along the pathways and encourage people to keep distance.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently recommended that people should wear cloth face masks when out in public.

When you shop at a farmers market, go by yourself and bring a list of items to purchase so you can get in and out quickly, Koopenhafer said.

People who are still unsure about coming out to a farmers market can call 319-512-5203 and provide a list of items they’d like to purchase. They can then pick up the items.

Numerous vendors have already signed up to be at the farmers market. Vendors will be required to wear face masks and have hand sanitizer at their stands. Vendors are also encouraged to have everything prepackaged.

Some of the available produce will include microgreens, organic vegetables and a variety of plant starts for the garden.

Local beef and homemade hot sauce will be featured as well.

Other vendors will be bringing homemade goat milk soap, lotions, candles, a boutique, jewelry and much more.

Koppenhafer said new vendors are still being accepted. Check the 18th Street Farmers Market page on Facebook for more details.

“From reactions I’ve heard, I think people are excited to have access to fresh local meat and produce again,” she said. “We’re bringing a lot of value to the community, plus it’s a great opportunity to get out of the house.”

Another fun summer event at the 18th Street Plaza that launched in 2019 was Bands on Broadway. Organizers said they’d like to hear the music playing again this summer.

Starr Lehl, Scottsbluff’s economic development director, was a member of the group that helped get the summer concert series going last year.

“The group plans to meet in the next couple of weeks to decide where we’re going,” Lehl said. “A lot of surrounding communities have canceled this year’s summer concert series, including Alliance, Chadron and Ogallala.”

Lehl said the Scottsbluff committee is united in strong support of keeping Scottsbluff’s Bands on Broadway event going for its second season, even with precautions over the coronavirus pandemic.

The Bands on Broadway summer concert series had already been scheduled to start on July 2. If the committee decides to go ahead with it, they must first submit a plan to the Panhandle Public Health District, detailing how the event will observe the governor’s directed health measures to assure the public’s safety.

“We’re hoping that by July, safety measures will be even more flexible,” Lehl said. “The Bands on Broadway event was unique the first year. Families sat together and most people were at least six feet apart because we have plenty of space on the plaza. And it’s outside.”

She said it wouldn’t be a problem to incorporate safety measures, including 6 feet of space between people in the lines at the food trucks.

Lehl said if the group can’t meet the July 2 deadline, they might move it to August.

“It won’t take much to get it going, so we’ll meet June 16 to decide,” Lehl said. “We had a lot of support last year, so we’ll see how local businesses can help out. We want this because the community needs it, especially with what we’ve been going through these past few months.”

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Jerry Purvis is a reporter with the Star-Herald. He can be reached at 308-632-9046 or emailed at jpurvis@starherald.com.

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