Looking for some outdoor, Saturday family fun this summer? Then stop by The New Rochelle Downtown BID (Business Improvement District) Grand Market where the entire family can explore, play games, enjoy lunch, free entertainment, and of course, shop! The “Grand Market,” as it is affectionately known, runs every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., June 2 through Oct. 27, on the lawn of the downtown New Rochelle Public Library at 1 Library Plaza.
Created by The New Rochelle BID, the nonprofit Grand Market strives to be a wonderful gathering place for families while simultaneously revitalizing the downtown New Rochelle area. “We like to consider ourselves a weekly farmer’s market and family festival,” says Jennifer Furioli, Market Director. “A large part of our mission is not only selling farm-fresh food, but to educate the community on healthy eating and providing enriching, free education and entertainment,” she says.
So what can you expect from your visit? Read on!
“Vendor-wise, we have all the regular farmer’s market fixings,” says Furioli. These include products such as fresh fruits and vegetables from Migliorelli Farms and R&R Produce; fresh flowers from R&R Produce; jarred honey from Sweet Things and Wild Thyme; grass fed beef and antibiotic free pork and chicken from Farm Eats; fresh bread from Journeyman’s Bakery; pies, cookies, cakes and other sweets from Luscious Dessert Company; spices from Uncle T’s Spices; spirits and cocktail bitters from Dutch’s Spirits; and a collection of handbags, artisanal soaps, soy candles and paper notecards from Artisan NR, to name a few.
There is something for everyone at the Grand Market. While the adults can browse the many vendors, kids love playing at the toy mini market. “We have three children’s sized farm stands filled with toy fruits, veggies, eggs and breads for the kids to pretend play farmer/shopper,” says Furioli. “It’s our most popular attraction for the kids.” In addition, the Grand Market also has life-sized lawn games that include Jenga, Chess, cornhole and Connect Four. “Kids and adults alike love these games. We love seeing the variety of ages that play chess,” she says. “It’s not uncommon for two complete strangers to face off in a fun challenge across the chess board.”
Together with the New Rochelle Public Library, the Grand Market runs a hands-on family gardening experience during market hours. “Kids can plant a seedling, harvest fresh peas, clip parsley and more,” says Furioli. While the kids are up to their elbows in dirt, parents can pick the brain of the gardening manager on anything from composting to planting.
In keeping with family fun, the Grand Market hosts several large festivals throughout the season. These include Bastille Day and Touch-A-Truck Day.
Shoppers feel like they are visiting the streets of Paris during the Grand Market’s annual Bastille Day. Entertainment may include French singers, cooking demos by local French chefs, games that revolve around the French culture and language, free beret giveaways, a Petit Prince photo booth and crepes for sale.
Touch-A-Truck at the Grand Market pays homage to all types of trucks that help keep New Rochelle going. Coordinated with the City of New Rochelle, children are invited to get inside and explore the city’s firetrucks, ambulances, street cleaners, police cars, diggers and more. Grab an ice cream from a bona fide ice cream truck and enjoy face painting, crafts for kids, balloons and music.
In addition to signature festivals, the Grand Market provides weekly, family-oriented entertainment such as live music, balloon artists, educational crafts, or a teddy bear health clinic run by one of the market’s sponsors – Montefiore New Rochelle.
With so much to do at the Grand Market, it’s easy to work up an appetite. Grab a chair at a bistro table and enjoy lunch from one of the market’s various food vendors. Options include crepes and galettes from La Maison Bretonne, vegan food such as falafel, hummus, salad bowls and pita wraps from Let them Eat Pita, Caribbean fare from A Place2Go, and hot dogs from the famous Walter’s Hot Dog Truck.
For more information on The New Rochelle Downtown BID Grand Market, visit the market’s website at newro
Rachael Sanderson Benz is a Westchester-based freelance writer.