Beginning Thursday, the festivities on Main Street will have a new name. And last longer.
The name for Summerfest, the three-month-long street fair with food, fun and music, was changed to Market on Main because most of it wont take place during the summer. Co-sponsored by the city of Merced, it will run every Thursday night on Main Street between K and M Streets and part of Canal Street from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. until Oct. 13.
Event organizers wanted to move the dates to get more days with cooler weather, with October expected to be a little cooler, said Tom Price, event organizer.
And with the event beginning this month, it will also allow some of the UC Merced college crowd to come to the event, he said.
What always happened last year at 9, when we started to wrap up, it would start to get more busy, Price said. So the time was changed to last until 10 p.m. this year.
But the main reason for the name change was to focus on the certified farmers market, Price said.
During Summerfest, the certified farmers market had been on Canal Street. This year, by the end of Market on Main, organizers expect a maximum of 14 certified farmers market vendors to participate at Bob Hart Square. It was hard to get foot traffic (at Canal), said Price. We hope to make it a centerpiece of the event.
Frankie Medeiros, owner of Pure Valley Honey Bees of Le Grand, participated at Summerfest last year. She thought the focus on the farmers market this year was wonderful. She sells honey out of a jars and owns 450 hives.
Event organizers expect more than 20 vendors to participate the first week. Vendors will sell clothes and crafts and food vendors will be selling hot dogs, kettle corn and frozen yogurt.
Last year, an average of 300 to 400 people showed up to take in the festivities and music, but a lot of that was dependent on the weather, Price said. As weeks go on it will definitely grow, he said. Were really going to focus on growing the market and seeing what we can do there.
It had been called Summerfest for the past two years. DLM Magazine, edited and founded by Price, coordinated the event last year.
Vendors interested in participating in Market on Main should go to www.mercedmarket.com. And check out its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mercedmarket.
Reporter Ameera Butt can be reached at (209) 385-2477 or firstname.lastname@example.org.