In the ten years since the Lansdowne Farmers Market first opened, we've had many, many delightful Saturdays of absolutely perfect weather -- sunshine, soft breezes, crowds of happy shoppers milling about and tapping their toes or even dancing to the music. Last week was a different story. With chilly temps, strongly gusting winds, and rain and drizzle interspersed with periods of dark and threatening clouds, it was one for the books. Gusting winds blew ceramic bowls to the ground, plastic chairs skittered across the parking lot, the recycling containers fell over again and again, and tents lifted into the air before the shopkeepers and Market volunteers could rush over to hold the billowing canvases down. It was a bit nerve-wracking. We should have known it was going to be one of those days first thing when we heard from our stalwart Fruitwood Farms folks that they wouldn't be making it because their truck broke down, giving them their first-ever absence. (Luckily, they'll be back this week!) It is true that we usually have a "rain or shine" policy but when winds threaten to topple over tents and damage merchandise, food and produce, well, we have to draw the line. So we gave the vendors the option of closing up early and most were gone by 12:30. Hopefully those who arrived to an empty lot will understand and forgive us for making the controversial call.
Here's hoping that the current Saturday forecast of mid-60s and partly sunny weather holds out to let us celebrate in perfect autumnal style.
Halloween Three Ways
One of our favorite LFM traditions is trick-or-treating at the Market on the last Saturday in October. We strongly encourage the little ones to dress up and almost as strongly hope that adults do the same. In the past, whole families have come bedecked for trick-or-treating at the Market, where treats can be had in the Manager tent and at most vendor tents.
Then, starting at 12:45, children up to age 10 accompanied by adults can parade from the LFM parking lot down to the Twentieth Century Club, where they will be treated to a Halloween Party with snacks, music, games, and prizes for best costumes until 3:00 pm. The fun is sponsored by Lansdowne Borough, the Lansdowne Park and Recreation Board, and the Lansdowne Public Library.
Per time-honored tradition, round-town trick-or-treating will take place Monday, October 31, at dusk. For a lift and a hoot, visit John Kelly Green's album of Halloween photos taken on his porch for the past several years. They are delightful.
Sweet Endings Dessert Contest
As we say goodbye to the last regular Market of the season, it's a comfort to celebrate the good times with something sweet and tasty. That's why we're hosting yet another Sweet Endings dessert contest and silent auction! We hope you prepared by buying at least one ingredient from the Market already. (You didn't? Well, the Market does open at 9...) We are asking contestants to bring their made-from-scratch desserts such as pastries, cakes, cupcakes, puddings, cookies, crumbles, pies, etc., to the Market Manager's tent by 10:30, so if you hurry, you might just make it! Recipes can be original or from another source but they have to be "personalized." Don't forget to bring along your completed entry form. This year there is no fee to enter!
As soon as the desserts start coming in, shoppers can start placing silent (ie, written) bids for the goods. Bidding closes when the judging starts at noon, with each delectable (minus the small piece used in the judging) going to the high bidder, natch, and the money being donated to the local food cupboard. Entries will be judged on flavor, appearance, seasonality, and originality. The first-place chef will earn $10 in Market Bucks and the second-place winner will get $5.
If you have a discerning sweet tooth, you should volunteer to be a judge by emailing us before noon tomorrow (Friday). We'll pick names at random and let you know if you've been selected.
Community Day Roster
The Market will look one-third bigger this Saturday as we open spaces to community businesses and organizations that want to share information with market goers. Be sure to stop by and browse their tables!
Lansdownewise, find out about the range of small business products and services offered by members of the Lansdowne Business and Professional Association, try your hand at printmaking at the Lansdowne Arts Board table, and learn about scouting from Cub Scout Pack 63, which will also have an old-fashioned beanbag toss game for kids to try out.
Designwise, we'll have MarfDaze with her fabulous handmade bags and pillows and The Sewing Doctor, who is a genius at sewing refashioning/alterations/recycling clothes. Urban Farms is offering farmhouse signs and handmade wood decor.
Homewise, we have two replacement window businesses -- Renewal by Anderson and Acre Window -- and renewable electricity options from Green Mountain Energy.
Healthwise, Walgreens will be offering flu shots and coupons, Health Partners Plans is bringing a face painter, giveaways, and health plan info, Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital will give out health and wellness info, recipes and veggie peelers, and Dragon Spirit Arts will do a mini class/demonstration of yoga and tai chi.
Familywise, you can learn about the work of the Pennsylvania Mentor Network, which supports families that foster children with emotional, medical and behavioral challenges and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
As is usual on the last market of the month, we'll be collecting canned goods and nonperishable foods for the local food bank. Needed are healthy and sustaining commercially packaged foods (rice, pasta, sauce, dried milk, coffee, tuna, peanut butter, etc.) or cash donations so they can shop for what's needed. Please bring your donations in a bag or a box to the Market Manager tent and we'll give you a Market Buck in thanks.
If you like to plan ahead, write down these Winter Lansdowne Farmers Market dates: December 17, January 21, February 18, March 18, and April 15.
More Halloweenish Happenings
Starting at 2 pm on Saturday, head on over to the Regency Cafe where poets, musicians and those who love poetry and music are cordially invited to the Mad Poets Society Series, Rhyme Rhythm and Reason at the Regency Cafe, for a Trick and Treat program. Poet Nathalie Anderson and jazz musicians Eve and Craig Thomas will treat us to their talents. Open mic participants will be the tricksters, performing their poetry with at least one Halloween Haiku poem. More details here from organizer Camelia Nocella, who says: "Come and join in scaring up some fun (wearing a costume is an option) as we will have a BOOtiful Time!!!!!!!!!"
Finally, 6 to 8 pm on Halloween night, the Girl Scouts of Rainbow Hollow and Upper Darby are hosting their annual Trunk-or-Treat event on the Owen Avenue side of the Lansdowne Avenue municipal parking lot. With cars decorated by troop leaders and a ton of candy to give out (as well as some snacks to sell), the event is organized as a community service by the Girl Scouts to provide a safe and centralized holiday treat for area children and troop members alike.
November and Beyond
Since we won't be talking to you until closer to the November 19 Pre-Thanksgiving Bonus Farmers Market, we thought we'd point out a couple of things to add to your November datebook.
A Bit of the Arts holiday art sale, sponsored by the LEDC, is running Friday, November 25 (6-9 pm) and Saturday, November 26 (10 am to 5 pm) at the Twentieth Century Club. It will feature more than 30 vendors, including new folks as well as old favorites.
Saturday, November 26 is the date for two Lansdowne Business and Professional Association-sponsored events. Start by shopping local in one of Lansdowne's six business districts to celebrate Small Business Saturday. Then, join the celebration that evening when music, dance, and merriment presage the lighting of the Christmas tree in the Municipal Parking Lot across from the Lansdowne Theater and the arrival of Old Kris Kringle himself, a-riding a good old Lansdowne fire truck. Keep a watch on the LBPA Facebook page for details.