And some market managers have sweetened their markets for families; they have gone the extra mile to make their weekly markets a destination both parents and kids enjoy by featuring fresh food that please mom and dad as well as activities little ones love.
Grayslake Farmers' Market
Downtown Grayslake, at the corner of Center and Slusser streets
Wednesdays, June through Oct. 6, 2010
3 – 7 p.m.
Fall Market, Saturdays Oct. 16 – Dec., 2010
9 a.m. – 2p.m.
The Grayslake Park District often features an array of kid-friendly activities during the summer market in Centennial Park, which is tucked in between Grayslake's historic downtown buildings in the middle of the market. Most weeks, characters like Big Bird or Winnie the Pooh are waiting to greet little ones and pose for pictures.
Often kid-centered businesses set up activity stations in the park so children can take a break from shopping and create art projects with organizations like Krafty Kidz. On select weeks, the Busy Brains Children's Museum also provides various interactive learning and play stations.
Additionally, the Grayslake Farmers' Market features live music weekly sponsored by one of the local businesses. Frequently, the music man in the spotlight will bring along hula hoops and encourage the kids to dance in the blocked-off streets of the market.
Woodstock Farmers' Market
Woodstock Farmers' Market
Tuesdays and Saturdays, June through October
8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Historic Woodstock Square
Little ones and parents alike enjoy Woodstock Farmers' Market. Parents appreciate the layout of the vendors around the downtown square because it's open and spacious, allowing mom or dad to pull little ones along in a wagon or easily push their babes in a stroller.
Older children enjoy the big, open park, which is the center of the square because they can run around and play gamer or dance to the musical styling of that week's featured artist while parents shop.
Directly across the street from the market, parents can find a refreshing treat at the coffee shop during the hot summer months and little kids might like to browse the aisles of a children's book store located directly next door.
Libertyville Farmers' Market
Thursdays, June through October 21
7 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Downtown Libertyville, Cook Park
Set up in the downtown area, the location alone of the Libertyville Farmers' Market makes it a family-friendly destination.
The market is close to shops and many child-friendly restaurants, so families can easily combine a market trip with a downtown shopping excursion.
The playground equipment at Cook Park appeals to parents and children alike, as it offers a space where little ones can run off some excess energy before or after shopping.
Equally appealing, J.C. Juggles, the balloon man frequents the market, creating interesting hats, swords and animals out of children's balloon color of choice free of charge.
Kids also take interest in watching how donuts are made at one of the local vendor's tents. And, not surprisingly, they enjoy eating the product as much as they like watching it be made.
Kenosha Farmers' Market
Summer Market, Saturdays June – Oct. 16, 2010
Winter Market, Saturdays Oct. 23 – May
9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Rhode's Lakeside Player Theater 514 56th St. / Kenosha, WI
The Kenosha Farmer's Market is all about location, too! The market is merely blocks away from the Dinosaur Museum and the Kenosha Public Museum, both of which are big hits with children. Attending the farmers' market and then heading over to one of the museums or even the lake front for a picnic makes for a great morning and afternoon for both parents and children.
At the market specifically, kids enjoy participating in events like the Strawberry Contest, held during late June, in which participants bring up to six strawberries from their home garden to be judged. The winner takes home $20 cash and receives a certificate. Later in the season, (Oct. 9 for 2010), patrons are welcomed to compete in the Apple and Pear Contest.
Another big hit with little ones is the Outta Sight Kite Flight, which is held once every summer market and features big, vibrant kites flying along the shore of Lake Michigan.
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