Helena Market Days return with new leadership

Published 9:44 am Tuesday, June 18, 2024

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HELENA – With the onset of summer comes the commencement of Helena Market Days, but this year, the annual summer farmers market looks a little different due to a new location and new leadership.

With local vendors selling everything from fresh produce to handmade jewelry, Helena Market Days has a different theme each weekend and occurs every Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to noon at the Helena Amphitheater, starting June 1 and ending Aug. 31.

The kick-off weekend on Saturday, June 1 was cut short due to inclement weather, but the subsequent Saturday, June 8, enjoyed copious sunshine for “Puppy Day.” While guests shopped at the vendor booths, dogs could get a bath, meet new four-legged friends and enjoy the summer sun. In addition, Two by Two Rescue brought a selection of animals that are available for adoption.

“For me, one of the best things is being able to just see people enjoying the market,” Event organizer Kelly Morgan said. “It’s just great to look around and see all these families out here, to see all members of our community coming out, enjoying being outside and spending time with the vendors.”

The following Saturday, June 15, Helena Market Days was relocated to Second Street because of Old Town Live later that evening. Event organizers leaned into the new location and dubbed that Saturday as the “Street Market.”

In addition to the return to the amphitheater and the temporary street location, Helena Market Days has several changes this year, including two new market directors.

After being Market Days volunteers for years, Kelly Morgan and Amanda Smitherman have been appointed as market directors for the summer of 2024.

Since their first committee meeting in February, Morgan shared that learning to direct the market is very different than merely volunteering at it.

“It’s been a learning process,” Morgan said.

Smitherman agreed with this sentiment.

“But an exciting (process) and one that I think we both have really enjoyed and embraced and are excited about continuing because we get to make some improvements that we always wanted to see,” Smitherman said. “We get to continue the market which is one thing we always wanted to do.”

For Morgan, ensuring that Helena Market Days continued was the primary reason that she volunteered in the first place. A conversation with a city councilmember about Helena’s volunteers being stretched thin at the time prompted Morgan to volunteer her time.

“I reached out and said, ‘Well, let me be a part of the farmers market because I don’t want to see that go away,’” Morgan said.

Morgan and Smitherman now lead a team of volunteers. According to Smitherman, the team shows up for work at 6 a.m. without complaint, whether it’s pouring rain or scorching hot.

“We have volunteers who we see (that) seem to enjoy it as much as we enjoyed being volunteers,” Smitherman said. “We see the spark and the excitement. They’re contributing, giving us ideas and helping us improve the market in ways that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Those interested in learning more about Helena Market Days can email Helenamarketday@gmail.com or visit Facebook.com/The.Helena.Market.Days.