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Wake Up, It's Saturday!

Market time in downtown Boise

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The Capital City Public market is a great place to spend Saturday morning. With local artisans, farmers and musicians, Saturday mornings are once again full of the potential for fun and excitement. It's not just for adults; the market is a place for the whole family, including pets. From 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every Saturday through November, 8th Street between Bannock and the Centre on the Grove is filled with pedestrians, strollers, cyclists and leashed dogs alike. Whether it's looking for unique art, plates with crazy roosters, fresh produce, new music, flowers for the table, or just going for a stroll, the market transforms what would normally be a quiet downtown Saturday morning into a bustling plaza engaging all the senses.

For the last 12 years, Boiseans have enjoyed the assorted commodities that vendors bring to the market. Recent growth in, and around the valley has meant a number of new artisans coming into the area. Those craftsman have been attracted to the market by a new emerging artists' section which, in partnership with the Brick Oven Bistro and Boise Blue Art Supply, allows them to participate for three to four weeks during the season for a reduced price.

"It's good for new artists because it's a less expensive fee, and good for us because it allows us to get introduced to quality art, and the quality of artisans has risen 300 percent," says Karen Ellis, market director. The market offers the feel of quaint, small-town simplicity, but with 130 vendors slated for this year, it is anything but small. Ellis has stimulated growth at the market by creating a charming atmosphere with the incorporation of live music. The Boise City Arts Commission has teamed up with the market by auditioning, scheduling, and paying musicians to perform each week. Other downtown merchants have taken advantage of the benefits the market brings: Local musician Tom Taylor serenades market goers from the Piper Pub and Grill's balcony at 8th and Main during the entire 18-week season. Taylor's solo acoustic melodies echo through the streets, causing people to stop, look up and listen, which is a perfect demonstration of the symbiosis between the market and downtown merchants.

Carving artist Jeffrey Vik has been a fixture at the market for the last four years. Well-known for his handcrafted wooden serving spoons and forks, Vik has been carving all his life.

"Before, it used to take about a week to carve a single spoon. Now it takes about an hour," he says. Starting out by making gifts for friends and family, Vik realized the demand for his beautifully crafted products, and started riding his bike--hauling a trailer full of his smoothly fabricated items behind him--to the market. Vik usually carves in his booth, while people look on, his work and his entertaining personality a hit with everyone who walks by.

The outdoor garden art by Jerry Brooks, purveyor of Rusty Art, is that of another unique craftsman. Brooks uses old gardening tools, such as shovels, shears, rakes, or whatever he has on hand, to invent whimsical creatures fit for any garden or landscape. Brooks' "Rocking Birds," allow different interpretations of just what kind of bird they represent. Each is approximately four feet tall and made from precisely formed steel that gently rocks back and forth on a freestanding base. His "Shovel Birds" are a bit more abstract, but just as delightful.

RAD Mosaics artists Tyrell and Heather Whitt are in their second year in the "emerging artists" section of the market. Using old windows, doors and other recycled items, they create lead- and foil-free mosaics. Each piece is an environmentally friendly work of art infused with color from hundreds of small pieces of glass.

Idaho Glass artist Mark Baccay has mastered the delicate processes of etching and sandblasting stained glass and other materials to produce brilliant wall hangings, pendants, plates and glassware. Baccay closely guards the techniques he uses to make the one-of-a-kind pieces.

The market is also a place for fresh produce, breads and treats. For the sweet tooth, a visit to Apple Lucy's will return a scrumptiously pleasing adventure. Home-baked walnut pecan, Dutch apple and Marionberry pies combine the freshest of ingredients with an unsurpassed flair for baking. In their third year at the market, Steve and Michelle Davis have turned what once was a hobby into a teeming business, selling an average of 130 pies each Saturday, usually running out well before noon.

The market also has become an attraction for tourists and visitors who want to see Boise and get a feel for what the city has to offer its residents. Kerry Donaldson, a Virginia native said, "I would love to relocate to Idaho if everyone is as nice and cool as they are down here."

Beginning the first Saturday in June and running every Saturday until the second week in August, the market and the Boise City Arts Commission present Art for Kids. Each week, children ages 3 to 12 are encouraged to sign up for one of the free workshops. Debbie Fischer, a local painter, glass fuser and elementary school art teacher, taught five workshops last year, and is scheduled for more this year. "It's a great way to bring art to the kids of the valley and inspire them to use their imaginations, while teaching them the value of creativity," Fischer said.

So, round up the kids, leash the pets and head downtown. With the opening of the Capital City Public Market, Saturdays just got a little better.

Capital City Public market, 8th Street between Bannock Street and the Centre on the Grove, Saturdays through November, 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.