For farmers market devotees, the markets offer the chance to buy locally grown and locally produced food products, discover great handmade items and enjoy the shopping experience outside. But attending a local market doesn’t always mesh with would-be visitors’ schedules because farmers markets often take place in the morning or early afternoon.
By closing off 3rd Avenue to vehicle traffic on Saturday evenings and allowing vendors to set up along the entire stretch of street, however, Sturgeon Bay is providing a different option through its Under the Stars Night Market.
The first market of 2021 attracted lots of visitors, but there was still plenty of room to stroll 3rd Avenue between Jefferson and Michigan streets. Attendees could take their time to browse along the sidewalks and down the center of the street, or take a break at one of the tables, chairs or benches available between the vendors’ operations.
“It’s one of my favorite events of the season,” said Carly Sarkis, Destination Sturgeon Bay’s marketing and events director. “We wanted to create a safe space out in the open where community members and visitors could come and enjoy the local offerings and dine out on the street if they’d like to.”
Vendors such as Robbens Nest Farm and Door County Farm provide plenty of fresh vegetables and eggs to stock up on, and for a sweet treat, try an unusual cupcake variety such as apple pie or cookies & cream from the dessert shop Churro Burro.
Vendors sell body-care products and artisan goods, too. Logan Creek Soap offers row upon row of soap varieties, including scents such as Door County cherry. The Pearl of Door County displays a selection of jewelry, candles, ceramics and more. And Bayshore Outfitters sells Door County-themed clothing and accessories.
Under the Stars also celebrates a 21-year public-art tradition: Cherry sculptures enhance the sidewalks and streetscape as part of the Cherries Jubilee Street Art Auction. One titled “Put a Cork in It” consists entirely of wine-bottle corks, and another called “Prunus Weldius” is made of license plates welded together. The cherry sculptures will remain on display along and near 3rd Avenue until they’re auctioned off Sept. 18.
Some businesses stay open late and/or use the street in front of their building to expand their offerings for the night market, including merchandise setups from the new store Barn Door Quilts, live music provided by Cornucopia Kitchen Store and book signings at Other Worlds Books & More. As the night market winds down, vendors pack up their wares while sunset colors take over the sky and stars appear soon after.
The Under the Stars night market runs every Saturday, 5-9 pm, through Aug. 28.