Just steps away from the carousel in downtown Missoula is a market with about 30 vendors. There weren't many customers when I was there. Perhaps it was the rain, or perhaps it was vendors who were chatting on cell phones as I looked at their goods, or vendors who were unable to answer questions about what they were selling. You can visit and see for yourself on this point.
I did enjoy looking at and sampling a very large assortment of things, including caramel apples, picnic tables, herbs (o lovely lavender!), cotton candy, and items made from turned wood. I highly recommend watching the juggler, who will explain why juggling is good for you and how to do it.
Here are a few photos.
At the south end of town is the small community of Target Range. Todd Seib started this market to gather neighbors together. Right now it's small, with 5 to 10 venders each week, and one of Todd's biggest challenges is convincing the vendors to come regularly each week so customers know they can rely on buying their goods. As you may realize by now, being a vendor is hard and all too often discouraging work.
But the market thrives. I talked with Marsha who makes laundry soap, scrubbies, and cloth shopping bags. Just use a little of her soap and make your drains and clothes happy. I'm using it and liking it. If you're not sure which is her booth, just look for bubbles gaily filling the atmosphere.
A chat with the gal selling luscious-looking cupcakes and brownies revealed a story about how she is a culinary student in Missoula and is doing a work-study project selling items at the market. There's a lot more to putting baked goods out for sale than you can imagine.
This vendor described how duck eggs make good eating. And another tip: if you are expecting to spend a long day at the market, bring your mending.
I enjoyed looking at pretty vegetables piled high. For good reason, the biggest crowds were clustered around the two vegetable vendors.
Along with handspun wool and felted cat toys (you have to have something to please everyone, she told me), Kris Crawford's booth featured the neighborhood's history. Each week she sets out something she has been researching so that neighbors can learn and contribute additional information.
I learned a lot from Kris, not only about local history, but also about how digging into the past can bring people together in the present. If you possibly can, talk to Kris and begin your own quest to learn how we came to be here.
Parking lot, east of A Carousel for Missoula
May 9 - October 17
Sunday, 1 pm - 5 pm
Target Range Community Farmers Market
Target Range School,
4095 South Avenue West (west of Reserve)
May 9 - October 10
Sunday, 10 am - 1 pm