Preparing for outdoor events during a Pittsburgh spring sometimes requires setting up tents amid pouring precipitation.
And so it went early Tuesday afternoon, as Bethel Park Farmers Market vendors and organizers scrambled to be ready to greet guests at 3.
Fortunately, the rain ended up subsiding sufficiently for the market’s 2021 debut.
“Everybody has been really, really excited to return,” market coordinator Miranda Wayne reported, as the Bethel Park event is one of the earliest in the area to start its season.
Bethel Park resident Jessica DiPrampero and daughter, Stefi, weren’t about to let adverse weather deter their attendance.
“We didn’t want to miss opening day,” Jessica said. “This early in this season, it’s nice to have so much fresh produce that’s of local origin. It’s just lovely to have it back.”
Stefi, a Bethel Park High School junior, also spoke highly of the market.
“I am really excited. I love coming to it every year. It’s one of my favorite parts of summer,” she said. “Strawberries taste the best from here.”
Along with vegetables, fruits, flowers and other familiar farmers market fare, the Bethel Park event features the likes of food trucks, baked goods and pet treats.
“So you get a little bit of everything,” vendor Marissa Zimmerman said.
Her mobile Whimsical Wardrobe Boutique will be at the market the first Tuesday of each month, offering colorful clothing and accessories through a business she started in 2013.
“I wanted to bring fashion to people, so my tagline is ‘bringing fashion curbside,’” the Carroll Township resident said. “I wanted to kind of bridge the gap between a brick-and-mortar and online. So I figured mobile was the way to do that.”
Many of the vendors are scheduled to be at the market every week, from 3 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays – rain or shine, of course – through Sept. 28 at the VIP Parking Lot in South Park, off Corrigan Drive.
Conducted by Bethel Park Recreation and sponsored by the Bethel Park Community Foundation, the market continues to follow U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines regarding COVID-19. Even though the proceedings are outdoors, masks continue to be required, and social distancing is recommended.
“We are considered a larger public event,” Wayne said. “We have hand sanitizer and masks for anyone who needs them.”
Plans are to return to a pre-pandemic scenario when permitted, including eventually providing tables at which guests can sit and enjoy their food and beverages. The organizers also want to bring back weekly entertainment and to set up cooking demonstrations to help promote the market’s focus on seasonal eating.
“We started a newsletter that’s going to cover what is in season and will guide you to what vendors have that’s in season,” Wayne said. “And we’re hoping to get customers engaged with that and share some recipes throughout the year.”
With any luck, the weather will cooperate more fully as the season progresses, especially with regard to assembling those tents.
For more information, call 412-831-1328 or visit www.bethelparkfarmersmarket.com.