Anticipation building for Shawano Farmers Market

Several Shawano business leaders and residents plan to bring a farmers market to the city this summer.

“If you look around the country, every community is trying to start a farmers market,” said main organizer Dick Sarnwick. “The gas prices affect that, and also the fact that eating food from Shawano area may be better than that from China.”

Although a location has not yet officially been named, the market is set to begin Saturday, July 5, and be held Saturdays through Sept. 27 from 7:30 a.m. to noon.

“We’ve been working hard for about six months, and have been in constant communication with people, state food health inspectors, planning commissions, and doing what we can to organize,” Sarnwick said. “If we organize correctly, it will be a healthy start for a healthy farmers market. We’re trying to get good organization so it sustains itself.”

Right now, the group is looking for volunteers to work at the market, and acquire funds to get the market going.

“We can use help in many different areas, and we’re looking for people to work at the market Saturday mornings,” Sarnwick said. “There is some amount of manual labor to help get vendors situated, and have an information booth, and takedown at the end of the market. We want to have a smooth running market that people keep coming to.”

The group is also looking for vendors interested in participating. There are forms on the Farmers Market website, <a href=""></a> with the information to fill out.

“We really don’t want vendors stopping on Saturday morning trying to set up stands — we’re using a screening process to make sure we get good local vendors,” Sarnwick said.

BID coordinator Charlene Helms said the market will be a boost for downtown, making it more of a destination and tourism draw.

“The idea has been tried before, but I believe this time will be successful with the right group of people together to push it forward and work for it themselves,” Helms said.

The Market’s Board of Directors are President Dr. Richard Sarnwick, Vice-President Lisa Schiller, Secretary Dr. Carrie Verkuilen, BID Board Liason Bob Dumke, and Vendor Liason John Marquardt. Marlene Brath is Treasurer and Charlene Helms is the Executive Market Manager. Dawn Kelly is the Chairperson of the BID Events & Promotion Committee.

The first year of the market will be operated on a volunteer basis, and cash donations are currently being sought to aid in the solicitation of vendors and to promote the market. Donations may be sent to: Shawano Farmer’s Market, P.O. Box 104, Shawano, WI 54166.

Interested vendors may send inquiries to the above address, phone 715-853-3775, email <a href=""></a>, or visit the market’s website: <a href=""></a>

“I think it will be a good event that will help our community be more of a community, and draw people in for socializing — something I’m most looking forward to,” Sarnwick said. “It may help Shawano become more of an integrated community, as people visit for more than just the food.”

By Nathan Falk, Leader Reporter
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