Ashley Grosso, Menominee, (left) and Nicolle Bezio, Marinette, install the new Stephenson Island Farmers Market sign with Sarah Monahan (back center) Friday in Marinette.  EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard
Ashley Grosso, Menominee, (left) and Nicolle Bezio, Marinette, install the new Stephenson Island Farmers Market sign with Sarah Monahan (back center) Friday in Marinette.
EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard
MARINETTE - The farmers market of old is no longer in Marinette. In its stead stands something bigger, better and bolder than ever before. Enter the Stephenson Island Market - a new twice-weekly happening centered in the heart of the Twin Cities. 

The market's Grand Opening Celebration kicks off on Tuesday from 3 to 7 p.m. at its new home - Stephenson Island.

With approximately 27,000 vehicles crossing the Interstate Bridge on a daily basis - market organizer Sarah Monahan is very excited about the high-visibility advantage the new location will provide.

Monahan, who serves as Marinette Mayor Denise Ruleau's assistant and the city's community development director, says she is confident that moving the market from Merchants Park to Stephenson Island will provide the market a much-needed boost.

She explained that many people from outside the area simply couldn't find the farmers market in years past - but this year, it will be nearly impossible to miss.

"I felt as the community development director, that someone should help the vendors," Monahan stated as part of the reasoning behind the move.

Vendor fees will also be exclusively used to help promote the market, she added.

On Friday, two large banners promoting the market were installed alongside the Interstate Bridge - one is located right under the "Welcome to Wisconsin" tourist sign, while the other is located adjacent to the northbound lane of U.S. 41, just past the Stateline Convenience Store. 

Visibility problem - solved.

Several hundred balloons, filled with helium donated by Airgas, should draw even more attention to the market's grand opening celebration.

With the vendors now in plain view, Monahan explained that her next objective was attracting a large crowd - and she said she's confident the market's new look and feel will do just that.

"I just want to add culture to our community - that's my biggest thing," Monahan said.

To hopes of drawing locals and passerbys alike to the market, she enlisted a variety of vendors wide enough to suit most everyone's tastes. In addition to traditional farmers market staples, such as produce vendors, crafters and the like - some extra taste and flair has been incorporated.

Monahan explained that adding live music and food vendors seemed an obvious crowd-pleasing solution.

Disk jockeys, food vendors, informational and educational booths and more are all set to go for the market's opening week. 

On Tuesday and Friday a dozen vendors will be showcased - along with two information booths: The first, operated by the UW Extension and the master gardeners, will feature displays and informational packets on how to eat healthy, healthy food options and the importance of shopping locally. The second booth, operated by The Yoga Place in Menominee, will offer free Yoga sessions at 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. on Friday.

The Twin City Eagles boy's and girl's basketball teams will host a fundraising food booth featuring strawberry shortcake and other desserts, while the Haven of Hope will raise funds of its own with a both offering brats, hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos, refreshments and more, Monahan said.

The Stephenson Island Market will be open every Tuesday and Friday until Oct. 29, except on days when the island is reserved.

"Fridays will be normal market days, but Tuesdays we will try to get food vendors, music and more.

"We want to bring people down there with free activities to shop and look around - that's our plan. I think there is going to be a lot of people down there. 

"I'm hoping to have a packed island," Monahan said.

For more information or to register as a Stephenson Island Market vendor, please contact Monahan at 715-732-5120.