Bob Bruno, of Sterling Heights, empties kettle corn into a bin at his family's stand at the Dodge Park Farmers Market in 2015. The vendor will return to the farmers market this year.

Bob Bruno, of Sterling Heights, empties kettle corn into a bin at his family's stand at the Dodge Park Farmers Market in 2015. The vendor will return to the farmers market this year.

Photo by Sean Work


Farmers market grows in vendor support, activities

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published May 23, 2019

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STERLING HEIGHTS — When Sterling Heights residents Bob and Cynthia Bruno set up shop as Let’s Pop at the Dodge Park Farmers Market, they often sell kettle corn and lemonade to people from their own neighborhood.

The people come in large numbers, and they come early.

“We’ve seen people setting up on the lawn,” Bob Bruno said. “We get there about 1 o’clock. The concert starts at 7 or 8, and (people) just spend the day there. They just have a great time — the food is good, the produce is good, the prices are reasonable.”

The Brunos plan to return to Dodge Park when Sterling Heights hosts the fifth season of its annual Dodge Park Farmers Market starting June 6. The market will be open 3-8 p.m. Thursdays until the end of September.

The Brunos said they have run a booth at the Sterling Heights market every year that it’s been in action so far.

“The farmers market has a very good following, and it’s building every year,” Bob Bruno said. “The new facility is just phenomenal, and the splash park. That whole system there is just fantastic for the community.”

Park organizers are expecting even bigger things for this year’s market.

Sterling Heights Parks and Recreation Director Kyle Langlois said the farmers market is one of the city’s premier events, especially while it runs in tandem with the Music in the Park summer concert series. The farmers market gained its pavilion building for the 2018 season, putting the action under its large roof.

“It makes us feel like everything we’re doing is the right thing,” Langlois said. “The buzz around Sterling Heights, Dodge Park … is tremendous.”

Langlois said last year set records with 67 vendors throughout the season. And this year, the city already has more than 50 vendor applications; if things continue at the expected rate, the city could have over 80 paid vendors by the end of this year, he said.

“The number of vendors for week one has eclipsed the number of vendors for week one last year,” he said. “The word continues to get out. Vendors continue to share their experiences.”

He added that he is excited to see some previous vendors coming back to the event after a hiatus, such as the Great Harvest Bread Co.

When it comes to new or expanded features, Langlois said the market will expand its Kids Korner to include crafts and education resources that teach children about fruits, vegetables and farmers. Langlois said the program is a way to promote healthy living.

“What we’re hoping to do is we’re kind of educating the next generation of farmers market patrons and people who are going to support the next generation of farmers,” he said.

The city will bring back special themed events in September, such as the pet parade and cooking demonstrations. And the city plans to partner with the American Polish Century Club to add a Sept. 5 Polish festival to the schedule, complete with ethnic food and beer.

Officials also said that, in conjunction with Music in the Park, they plan to hold a Patios ‘n Pints area June 20 and 27; July 11; and Aug. 8, 15 and 22 near the Upton House. The attraction will offer craft beer sales from local breweries along with the concert music.

The fifth annual Dodge Park Farmers Market will run 3-8 p.m. Thursdays June 6-Sept. 26 in Dodge Park, 40620 Utica Road in Sterling Heights. Find out more about the Sterling Heights Parks and Recreation Department by visiting www.myshpr.net or by calling (586) 446-2700.

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