Often referred to as the Saturday market or the farmers' market, this weekly gathering of local artists, musicians, artisans and producers has become the place to pick up fresh flowers, locally grown vegetables, painted gourds, handmade purses, crepes, roasted nuts, Idaho-made mustard, fresh bread, locally produced meats, paintings, photos, jewelry, kettle corn and more.
When the Capital City Public Market opened in 1994, less than two dozen vendors amassed each Saturday in the former Eighth Street Marketplace. Two years later, the market moved to the corner of Idaho and Eighth streets now known as the Boise Tower Hole. For the last 10 years, the market has lined Eighth Street, spilling beyond Main Street and into the Grove after outgrowing its original southern boundary at Idaho Street.
This year, director Karen Ellis, who's been in charge since day one, expects the market to average about 120 vendors every week, drawing as many as 10,000 visitors every Saturday during the market's peak season between June and September. Over the years, Ellis said the number of produce vendors at the market has grown, but the number of artisans and artists has really taken off, with the quality of work at the market improving year after year.
"We have several new artists this year," said Ellis. "New photographers, a new jeweler, a couple of new painters." The market is also teaming up with a refugee group for an agricultural co-op, and Jaguarmoon bags, which employs refugee women to sew tote bags, will make a monthly appearance. Chef demonstrations led by Rory Farrow from Life's Kitchen start in June, and at this year's first Saturday market, you can pick up some tulips in support of a fundraiser for autism.
Capital City Public Market starts Saturday, April 19, 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on Eighth Street between Bannock Street and The Grove. For more information on the market, including which vendors you can expect to see at this year's market, visit capitalcitypublicmarket.com.