PHOTO STORY: Niles Homegrown Market hosts successful inaugural event

Published 10:39 am Thursday, July 8, 2021

NILES — Wednesday evening, music and the smell of fresh produce and baked good filled the air as residents flocked to the corner of Main and Second streets in downtown Niles to experience an event that promised to be a good “thyme.”

From 5 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, The NODE was host to the first-ever Niles Homegrown Market, featuring foods and homemade goods from area vendors.

According to event organizer Kristin Bivens, the event was a success, despite rainy weather that loomed over the day. She said there was a consistent crowd at the event until the rain finally settled in around 8 p.m.

“Frankly, the first market last night was exactly what I hoped it would be when I started planning it,” she said. “There was a constant flow of people browsing, people hanging out on the picnic tables having a beer with each other, vendors chatting both with fellow vendors and customers. Music was on, and people just seemed to be energized and having a good time. I heard from several vendors afterward how much fun they had and how great their sales were.”

The market will be hosted from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the second and fourth Sundays of the month, and 5 to 8:30 p.m. on the first Wednesdays of the month. The market will run through the second Sunday in October.

Upcoming markets will be even larger than Wednesday’s event, according to Bivens. She said her biggest concern going forward is finding space for all the vendors who want to participate.

“We had a great variety of vendors last night and have a great variety lined up going forward so I think there’s truly something for everyone,” she said. “Whether you’re browsing for fun artisan goods or looking to buy local food for dinner, it’s all right there.”

No matter how big the event may get, Bivens believes it will be a positive for the Niles community.

“My hope is that the market will bring something that people normally need to go out of town for to Niles,” Bivens said. “We haven’t a really great farmers market in quite some time, if ever. You always hear about the markets in New Buffalo or St. Joe, so it’s nice to have this here in Niles.”