By Amanda Ensinger
The Prairie Township Farmer’s Market will open later in 2020.
Normally, the farmer’s market runs from 4 to 7 p.m. every Monday starting in early to mid-June. This year, event organizers are planning to open the market at the end of June.
“Usually we open earlier, but we had already decided, based on feedback from our vendors, that we were going to open later and that was before COVID-19 happened,” said Michael Pollack, director of the Prairie Township Community Center. “This year, we are opening June 29 and staying open until Sept. 28, which is longer than we are usually open.”
Pollack said the reason for this change is because vendors said they will have more produce to sell if they wait until later in the season and extend the market until later in the fall.
“Due to weather, their growing season has changed, and this adjusted time frame works with that season,” Pollack said. “Produce is ready later in the season and lasts longer than previous seasons, so adjusting this time will ensure we will have plenty of product for people to purchase.”
The market expects to have 12 to 15 vendors by the time it opens. Currently, 10 vendors are signed up, but Pollack said he anticipates more will sign up as time progresses.
However, he said some vendors may not return due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The market may be a little different this year. We may have hand sanitizing stations, people may have to wear personal protective equipment like masks and gloves and may have to practice social distancing,” Pollack said. “However, right now we plan on the market still going on. We will make whatever changes we need to protect market shoppers.”
The start date of the farmer’s market is subject to change due to coronavirus prevention measures.
In other community center news, the center will remain closed as long as the stay at home order in Ohio is in place. The community center also had to cancel several programs they hoped to reschedule this spring.
“Since Governor (Mike) DeWine extended the stay at home order, we had to cancel our spring session of swim lessons,” said Pollack. “We had hoped to salvage the spring session, but there was no way.”
The center is offering refunds or credits for those registered for the swim lesson sessions, which had just begun when the original Ohio stay at home order was put into place. Pollack said offering families refunds or credit also gives them peace of mind that they will get the money back they already invested in the lessons.
The center was able to reschedule several events that were supposed to take place during the pandemic, including a karate class and mother/son date night. The center is planning on moving those events to the end of August or September.
During the pandemic, the center is trying to offer community activities.
“Our instructors have been regularly posting fitness videos on our Facebook page to offer easy to do fitness activities at home,” Pollack said. “We also are offering a virtual race where people can participate at any time without having to gather.”
The fitness videos posted on the Facebook page range from yoga to ball exercises to Tai Chi. The virtual race is open to all ages and costs $5 to participate.
“Participants track miles and will receive an award for their participation,” Pollack said. “They can send pictures of themselves outside exercising and it promotes physical activity while safely social distancing.”
Pollack said they have 15 to 20 people signed up and the community response has been very favorable.
Pollack said some of the events the community center was planning on hosting this summer are still scheduled at this time.