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Lake Oswego Farmers Market returns on Saturday, accompanied by Village Flower Baskets

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Chaya Valluri admires the bouquet she purchased at the Lake Oswego Farmers Market last season. Fresh flowers will brighten the market again this year, along with fresh produce, artisan breads, cheeses, jams and jellies, meats and seafood, nursery items and more. REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Sandy Gillison and her four-legged friend take a break from shopping to listen to traditional Irish tunes from the band Kinvara at last year's farmers market. Music will fill Millennium Plaza Park again this season, with performances scheduled from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. every Saturday. Lake Oswego's increasingly popular farmers market will return for its 18th season on Saturday, drawing 80 vendors and more than 8,000 visitors to downtown's Millennium Plaza Park.

There they'll find a wide variety of products, including artisan breads, cheeses, jams and jellies, meats and seafood, fresh produce, nursery items, flowers and more.

The market will be open every Saturday from 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. through mid-October, accompanied by hot food, cool music and even a Kids Corner filled with crafts and activities for youngsters.

"My favorite part about the farmers market is that it is a gathering place for the community," says market manager Jamie Inglis, who was recently promoted to recreation supervisor by the Lake Oswego Parks & Recreation Department. "It's a wonderful place to see your neighbors and friends while enjoying the incredibly healthy bounty of the Pacific Northwest."

It's also a wonderful place for vendors to display their wares, which may explain why so many apply for a spot at the market and why this year's crop includes nearly 20 first-time participants. To accommodate the popularity of the market and allow as many vendors as possible to participate, Inglis says some will only be at Millennium Plaza Park on select weekends.

Live music, on the other hand, will fill the market every Saturday from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., organized by local music legend Dick Saunders. Opening weekend will feature the popular country-rock group Southern Nights, and Saunders himself will even perform on a few dates throughout the summer.

Every Saturday will also feature the Kids Corner, with a variety of activities available for children to enjoy.

Kids ages 4-12 should make sure to stop by the information booth, where they'll receive a token to spend on fresh, local food if they answer the question of the day.

And while you're on the way to the market, be sure to admire the Village Flower Baskets hanging throughout the city. Volunteers will be out in force in the early morning hours Saturday to make sure the 28-year tradition — a springtime partnership between the City and the Chamber of Commerce that's funded entirely by donations and run by volunteers — continues to make Lake Oswego feel a little brighter, a little cheerier and a lot more colorful.

Millennium Plaza Park is located at 200 First St. in Lake Oswego. For more information about the market, visit www.ci.oswego.or.us/lofm.

— The Review

Contract Publishing

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