The food is the best part
It’s Market Days in Concord
By Linda A. Thompson-Odum firstname.lastname@example.org
Concord’s annual Market Days are here. What started out as a simple sidewalk sale 35 years ago has evolved into a free weekend of music, bargains and lots of food. And this year the event hopes to break a world record.
“A big driving force this year is the staycation,” Main Street Concord’s director Jessica Eshleman said. “People are looking to do more day trips and maximize their entertainment within a day’s drive. Not only are we the capital city, but we are just an hour’s drive from the Seacoast and the Lakes Region.”
The fun begins on Thursday, July 16, and goes until Saturday, July 18, with activities from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day. More than 100 vendors will participate in this year’s event. Festivities include two music stages, children’s activities, lunchtime aerial dance performances by the ceil rouge moving co., a community sidewalk chalk project on Saturday, carnival rides and games, yoga demonstrations, clowns and a classic car show.
Inspired by the Barley House’s popular pub trivia nights, Market Days hopes to break the world record for pub trivia participants on Thursday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Yes, there is such a record, which currently stands at 1,566.
“We can so break that record,” Eshleman said. To help encourage participation, there will be prizes given out during the trivia competition, with a huge grand prize of certificates from different Market Days vendors.
Food vendors will be working throughout the event, offering Phil’s Old Fashioned BBQ, pizzas from Checkmate Pizza and Constantly Pizza, Holly’s Fried Dough and Puppy Love hot dogs, and flavors from across the globe such as Gamil’s Egyptian fare, Chinese dishes from Tea Garden, Indian items from House of India, and Mexican fare from Margaritas, Dos Amigos and Boloco.
Though not located downtown, Arnie’s Place on Loudon Road has participated in Market Days for the past 22 years. Owner Tom Arnold is one of the volunteers who puts the event together, and he will once again serve his popular ice cream to festival-goers.
“It’s a fun weekend. While it’s great to be in our own business, to be outside is a whole other world. It’s fun to feel like a part of the festivities,” Arnold said.
This year the Concord Cooperative Market will hold three cooking contests — jams, jellies and relishes on Thursday; cookies on Friday; and pies on Saturday. (Contestants had to register by July 14.) And the Market’s Celery Stick Café will serve steak and vegetable fajitas, chorizo sausage, watermelon gazpacho, ice cream and snow cones. They will also have a farm petting zoo, a kids’ creation station, and a pet rest stop.
On Friday, Granite State Candy Shoppe will hold an ice cream eating contest from 1 to 2 p.m., with contestants divided into different age categories. The Concord Farmers’ Market will take place at its scheduled time on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Capitol Street, and some of the farmers will participate in the entire weekend. True Brew Barista will set up a “chill zone” with Lotions n’ Potions to offer iced tea and coffee, water and sodas, along with chair massages and other relaxation activities. And Yankee Farmers Market will bring a chuck wagon to serve buffalo burgers and other items.
The festival area runs down Main Street from Loudon Road south to Hills Avenue, and includes Eagle Square, Bicentennial Square and the Statehouse lawn. To make way for all the fun, several downtown streets will be closed to vehicles. There will be a bicycle parking lot for anyone who wishes to cycle to the fun.
Last year’s Market Days saw approximately 30,000 people attend, in part because it was the first one to include Saturday. Eshleman said the vendors are “local folks that have a passion for what they do. This is an opportunity to showcase the variety of business that make up the city of Concord.”