Alton, IL (3 August 2010) – August 1st-7th is National Farmers Market Week and Alton Marketplace has planned many special activities to celebrate the occasion on Saturday, August 7th. Enjoy live music from Irony Rains, art demonstrations, Arts in the Park activities with the Jacoby Arts Center, and cooking demonstrations with “Celebrity Chefs” Laurie and Geo from Chez Marilyn, who will be shopping at the market, cooking on-site, and sharing recipes. Entertainment has been made possible by a sponsorship from the Simmons Firm.

The Alton Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market has doubled in size over the past few years and currently features 30-40 weekly vendors in the peak season. Many additional programs will continue for the rest of the season, through mid-October:

Senior Nutrition Program - One of the best parts of summer is all the farm fresh produce! How would you like some for free? A new program has started in Madison County to provide fresh produce from the Farmer's Market to those who qualify. To qualify you must be 60 years and older and meet a household income guideline. You may sign up at the Alton Farmers’ Market on Saturdays from 8 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Look for a Senior Services Plus representative at the Alton Marketplace booth. You DO NOT need to bring proof of income but you will need identification, such as state ID card or driver's license to verify age. Please direct questions about this program to Senior Services Plus’s Information and Assistance hotline at 465-3298.

Young Entrepreneurs Program - Alton Marketplace is looking for young entrepreneurs to try their hand as a vendor at the Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market. One entrepreneur aged 8 -16 will be chosen each week to receive complimentary booth space where they can sell anything that they have grown or made themselves. Both for-profit ventures and non-profit projects to raise money for charity will be considered. Please plan to have adult supervision for any child that will be participating. Applications will be reviewed by a committee, and vendors that are accepted will be contacted to schedule a date. Applications are available at: www.AltonMarketplace.com.

Arts In The Park - The Jacoby Arts Center will offer the following “Arts in the Park” Activities: Aug 7th – Famous Artworks, Aug 14th – Mobile Sculpture, & Aug 21st – Basket Weaving.

 The Farmers & Artisans’ Market is currently underway and runs from 8am to Noon every Saturday through mid-October. The market is located in the parking lot at the corner of Henry Street and Landmarks Boulevard. A wide selection of locally-grown seasonal fruit and vegetables is available, including heirloom varieties and organically grown crops. Along with produce, shoppers will also find plant materials, grass-fed meat, local honey, fresh bread and other baked goods, and a large assortment of hand-crafted artwork. The location provides plenty of on-site parking.

The market is a fun, easy, and responsible way for citizens to shop for healthy food. Fruits and vegetables are at their freshest and most nutritious when purchased locally, and the most environmentally, economically and socially responsible way to purchase your food is through local growers at the Farmers’ Market.

For more information, please contact Sara McGibany, Executive Director of Alton Marketplace, at 618-463-1016 or Bob Sancamper, Head Farmer, at 618-372-3018.

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