Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sentinel column 10-12-12

We’re having the Great Pumpkin Silent Auction at the market today and tomorrow. It’s our first one, but hopefully not our last. It all depends on our farmers and their ability to grow a Great Pumpkin. This year John Pate of Pate’s Orchard gave it a try and came up with a pumpkin weighing over 100 pounds. He’s donating it to the market to raise funds for our music program.

(These mini pumpkins come from Frederickson Farms.)

The auction begins at 10:30 am today. There will be a sheet on which folks can write their bid, which must be at least $5 higher than the previous bid. The high bidder at 11:00 am on Saturday will be declared the winner.

In addition to having the biggest pumpkin in town in front of their home or business, the high bidder will be listed as the sponsor of the market’s music in all our publicity in May and June. Fame, glory and a Great Pumpkin, too!

If you can’t make it to the market, call in your bid to 417 483-8139 and we’ll update you on bids and write yours in for you.

I guess there’s something ironic about using a silent auction to support our music, which is, after all, hardly silent. Music is the biggest line item in our annual budget and thee volunteers and vendors think it’s a great investment. We are fortunate that the Missouri Arts Council thinks it’s a good investment, too. Each year the Council has contributed a small but critical grant which underwrites the music. That’s our state tax dollars at work and we think those dollars result in much more than entertainment. It makes our market distinctive. To my knowledge, we’re the only venue in Southwest Missouri that hosts free family-friendly top-quality live music three times a week. We think that brings us more customers and extends our customer base far beyond the city limits - and that makes good economic sense. And it gives our local and regional musicians a place to share their talents and passion for music and that builds a stronger arts community. And, let’s face it, music brings life and good feelings to the market. It makes us a happier place.

So here’s hoping some music fans, market fans and pumpkin fans will bid on our Great Pumpkin.

Yes, we did have a freeze last weekend - way too early for my tastes. But several of our farmers used row cover to protect their plants so we will have produce at the market this weekend. It could be the last weekend for tender produce like zucchini, squash, eggplant, green beans and okra, so come get it while you can. We should have a good supply of the cool weather crops like broccoli, spinach, winter squash, pumpkins and mums for some weeks yet.

Today Hazel’s Bakery is serving Cheesy Potato Soup. She’ll have cupcakes and drinks for fifty cents each, as well as her usual spread of cakes, pies, cookies, quick breads and muffins.

William Adkins from Fayetteville, Arkansas will play.

Tomorrow is a big day at the market. Lisa Sweet, the market’s Queen of Crafts, will demonstrate how to paint a scarecrow face and help others wanting to try their hand at it. The less artistically inclined can take Lisa’s demonstration samples home. I’ll show folks how to make a scarecrow using plastic bags and old clothing. There will be a kids craft table where children can color fall coloring pages or make a scarecrow puppet or create veggie art. You’d be surprised what a great spider pipe cleaners and an acorn squash make.

Drew Pommert will provide the music tomorrow and Magic Moments Riding Therapy will serve Cooking for a Cause. Magic Moments receives all the profits from our breakfast of pancakes, sausage and eggs cooked right at the market. It’s served till 11.

Magic Moments uses trained instructors and volunteers to help the physically and mentally disabled ride horses in a safe setting. Whether a child has autism or other physical or mental challenges, riding a horse teaches the child patience and confidence while improving their flexibility, balance and muscle strength. A student who has always been too “slow” to participate in normal school athletics, as in the case of a student with mental retardation, can demonstrate her abilities through horseback riding.

Magic Moments recently began working with the Wounded Warriors program using horseback riding as therapy for our veterans healing from the traumas of their service.

I hope you will invite your family or friends to come out tomorrow and support this fine group of folks – trainers, volunteers and clients. Rain or shine, it will be a great day at the market.