East Lansing’s launch of its first-ever underground winter market is being hailed as a success by planners, vendors, and customers alike. The special Sunday series, funded by the City and through public crowdsourcing, started on Valentine’s Day and will run every other Sunday through early May.
Just like with the City’s summer Farmers’ Market, the winter underground market features local Michigan growers and producers. Visitors to this past Sunday’s market found a wide array of handmade winter hats and gloves, dresses and aprons, pies, pastas and sauces, goats’ milk and cows’ milk cheeses, fresh eggs, jams, fancy cocktail mixes (just add liquor), and much more.
“It was definitely lively and far exceeded expectations,” market organizer Adam Cummins tells ELi.
Cummins is a Community & Economic Development Administrator for the City, and he’s been organizing special spaces and events with his colleague, Community Development & Engagement Manager Amy Schlusler-Schmitt, to bring more people downtown while the pandemic threatens the survival of local businesses.
“I’d also add that when I spoke to each vendor,” Cummins says, “they indicated that they were thrilled with the turnout and the amount of product they sold and will be coming back.”
In fact, Cummins expects not only the same vendors from the first market day, but a wider variety of vendors for the next, on Sunday, Feb. 28.
The market takes place in the bottom level of the parking garage under the Marriott Hotel on M.A.C. Ave. That may sound dark, but City staff have enlivened the space with bright paint, strings of lights, faux-grass and Adirondack chairs.
It definitely gives a visitor the feeling of getting out and doing something after being stuck at home for months, as many people have been.
The market will continue on Feb. 28, March 14, March 28, April 11, April 25, and May 9, running from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. If coming by car, parking is easily available at the M.A.C. Ave. garage. Drive in and park on the first level under the hotel, and then just head down one more level to get to the market itself. Elevators are available.
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