Riverwalk Market Fair to begin June 5th


This summer, Northfield residents can look forward to an open air market every Saturday morning along the Cannon River, where strollers may purchase high-quality artwork or take home fresh and organic produce from local growers.   Organizers of the new Riverwalk Market Fair hope that the Fair will bring to mind a European marketplace through its focus on high-quality and regional goods.  Co-founders Dean Kjerland and Gail Jones Hansen (Carleton ’74) hope that the fair will “counterbalance the sterility of the contemporary shopping experience, to help reconnect with a sense of place” by engaging local and regional vendors and families in the geographic heart of historic Northfield.

Last November, the Riverwalk Market Fair was awarded an $8,000 incentive grant from the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, and since then the project has also been supported by individual and small business donations in Northfield.  Several interns from St. Olaf and Carleton, as well as Northfield residents Steve Engler and Vicky Tripp, are helping with the launch of the Market Fair’s first season.  Co-founder Kjerland also created the separate nonprofit organization called the Riverwalk Arts Quarter, with the goal of fostering “economic vitality through regional marketing and events linking arts entrepreneurs and patrons.”  Kjerland hopes in particular that by continuing to improve the vitality of the local arts and entertainment scene, Northfield can economically benefit by drawing in visitors from outside Northfield.  The Market Fair, in collaboration with the Riverwalk Arts Quarter, will therefore include a strong visual arts component. 

For more information, email info@riverwalkmarketfair.org

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Its a community effort...

This started after 300 Northfielders were invited to a Riverwalk Arts Quarter Town Meeting in April 2009.  105 votes were cast that nite for a' marketplace on the riverwalk' idea. Yes, Gail and I did the dreaming and scheming during 2009 to ultimately get the money to make it happen (with much help).


However, Riverwalk Market Fair 2010 got launched only with with some amazing, empowering grass roots meetings. Almost 50 great people participated in the initial organizing meetings (half on the farmers side, half on the artist side) at the beginning of 2010. Our town is rich in talented people and I am so proud of all the folks who originally believed in and stepped-up to define the goals for their Market Fair and are now making this happen.


Each group worked in intense weekly meetings all last quarter to begin from scratch to define possibilities, gather info from other fairs, wrestle with such concepts as fairness, transparency, liability, and quality. Finally, we have completed the detailed Market Fair Guidelines and vendor application packets started going out last week , so we are now in the process of filling our available stall spaces the June 5th Grand Opening and a full 2010 Season.


Riverwalk Market Fair works on both a supply side and a demand side. We have strategies, budgets and tasks defined and now implemented for both the vendors (supply) and for extensive regional marketing and promotion (demand). We are a Minnesota non-profit corporation. We office in the creative commons space at ArtOnWater Gallery along with Riverwalk Arts Quarter, Inc.


Market Fair needs committed volunteers right now for everything from office sitting, to booking street performers, to advisory committee membership ,to public relations tasks. As we get closer to June, we need event set-up/tear down labor, visitor polling staff, info booth staffing, etc. If you can't donate your labor, we will gratefully accept contributions. Contact us.


We're working on getting the website and email refined; leave us a message at 507 786-9700 or email us at info@riverwalkmarketfair.org.