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Crookston's Marketplace adds spice to summer

CROOKSTON—Community groups are throwing everything in the pot to spice up the Crookston Farmers Market this summer.

Nell DeBoer, longtime chairwoman of the successful Crookston Oxcart Days, said several groups are joining forces to turn the Downtown Square into a block party blast for the whole family.

The new event, dubbed Crookston's Marketplace, will run from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursdays from late June through September. And if all goes well, it might be extended to an indoor venue.

"There's a lot of excitement, and the Farmers Market group is energized," DeBoer said. "Our vision is to turn this event into a one-stop shop. Everyone is jumping in, and we're trying to get a lot of different ideas."

The Crookston Classic Cruisers and The Estate Sale Guys already have signed on, along with the Crookston Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau.

DeBoer said the groups plan to book live entertainment and double the number of vendors to a dozen or more—including at least one food vendor with the option of beer or wine.

Along with fresh produce, ideas call for a regular flea market, more home business and retail vendors, crafts and other specialty items such as honey and sourdough breads.

"We're expecting big things," DeBoer said. "We're talking about adding an outdoor movie or working with the local pool to do a dive-in movie night. We're going to do petting zoos and games for the kids. The possibilities are endless."

Children ages 4 to 12 also will get tokens to buy fresh produce each week, thanks to a new "Power of Produce" grant from the University of Crookston Extension Office.

Vendors can pay $10 by the week for a 10-by-10-foot spot or opt for the $100 season pass to reserve a space of their choice. Information: DeBoer at (218) 289-3199.