by Elizabeth Granger
NOBLESVILLE – Chris Theisen loves summer Saturdays. Early morning Saturdays. While the rest of the house sleeps in, he drives to downtown Noblesville, grabs a cup of coffee at Noble Coffee, gets some cash from a bank ATM, and walks over to Federal Hill Commons along the west side of Highway 19 at Ind. 38. He’s already at the farmers market when it opens.
“I have a usual list of things I get,” Theisen says. “Vegetables from Wilson’s Farm, baked goods from an Amish family, and My Dad’s sweet corn. Sometimes I’ll pick up pork sausage to make with breakfast. Sometimes I’ll pick up some flowers for my daughter and wife. Sometimes I’ll get beignets from Chef Adam’s Jaws food truck, or get tamales to go for my wife.
“Once I got a watermelon for a family get-together later that day. Unfortunately, I had to walk back to the car lugging that one.”
Theisen says it’s the perfect start to the weekend. The Noblesville farmers market is held from 8 a.m. to noon every Saturday May 5-Oct. 13. It’s the oldest and largest in Hamilton County with close to 90 vendors offering items that include homegrown fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, flowers, honey, wines, jams, jellies, and salsas. Locally handmade items include baked goods, soaps, jewelry, artwork, crafts and pet products. The food court offers breakfast and lunch choices along with takeout items and snack foods. Tables welcome patrons who want to sit and visit while listening to live performers.
The market is perhaps the most popular event sponsored by Noblesville Main Street. Noblesville was one of 19 charter members of the Indiana Main Street program in the late 1980s; there are now 132 Main Street programs in 81 Indiana counties. They’re affiliated with Main Street America. While each chooses its own programming, all are dedicated to fostering the economic and cultural vitality of their downtowns by preserving the past and enhancing historic assets.
There are more than 60 events sponsored by Noblesville Main Street each year, and most are free to the public.
The largest event – more than 20,000 in attendance last year – is the annual Street Dance, this year on July 14. It includes a band, roaming performers, beer garden and a separate kids’ zone. Other events include First Fridays, held in the early evening, with a different focus each month. May, for example, offers Upstairs Downtown, a chance to see what’s above the first floor of many downtown buildings. June has a bed race on 9th Street between Conner and Logan. Later months include jazz fests, a chocolate trail, and holiday events. CanStruction, in October, uses packaged food items to create unique sculptures; the food is then donated to food pantries.
In addition, there are musicians at the weekly farmers market, a back-to-school bash in July, National Night Out in August, and more.
Meals from the Market, on one Thursday each month June-September, is a reservation-only dinner showcasing local culinary talent and foods from farmers market vendors. It’s held in the alley behind the Noblesville Main Street office.
Noblesville is a unique community in terms of its vibrancy, and there’s a rich tradition of art, of music, of culture. Some of that is re-emerging or emerging in different ways. Culture is what’s driving growth here.
A listing of Indiana Main Street cities is available at www.in.gov/ocra/2492.htm#F. Most have websites or Facebook pages with information about their particular programs.
Noblesville Main Street
839 Conner St.
Noblesville, IN 46060