Digging through a plastic pan filled with sand, toddlers Samantha Miller and Maren-Jean Miller searched for "dinosaurs." The activity, offered by the at the Fenton Farmers Market, delighted the two first-time market-goers.
The two were with father, Kevin Miller, who said the family ate, did a little shopping and then decided to have some fun finding toys in the sand.
Lauren Peabody, also of Fenton, went to the market for the first time with her baby daughter, Amelia.
"I love it," Peabody said. "It's my first time here, which is very silly because I live in Fenton.
"I adore it," she added. "I think it's a great thing for a small town."
The was filled with long-time fans and new ones on Thursday. Running through Sept. 27, the market offers up lots of produce, several artisans (including jewelry), some very popular hair bows, chocolate and baked goods.
Marj Huyck, of Fenton, said she loves the market and visits it every week.
"The produce is varied and delicious," Huyck said.
There are many fresh vegetable booths at the market, along with some fresh fruit, such as blueberries.
Fundraiser to help baby who has cancer
In addition to the produce at the Starrs Farm booth, there are fresh flowers on sale to help a special little girl, said Market Coordinator Sharon Briggs, from
The flowers are available from the Starrs Farm booth and are a fundraiser to benefit Andrea Starrs' daughter, Bella, 10 months, Briggs said.
At the Starrs Farm booth, Mary Starrs created floral bouquets from plants Andrea Starrs began growing when she had her baby. Little Bella has terrible cancer in both of her eyes, Mary Starrs said.
"We are doing what we can to raise money," she said.
Andrea Starrs has staffed the booth for the farm, on Linden Road, for years. She cared for and nurtured the flowers, which go into bouquets to help Bella, Mary Starrs said.
Park board, Send the Light Outreach
Other Farmers Market booths also are fundraisers. The cart, featuring the Durants' ice cream, is raising money for the Fenton Park Board. Different flavors are available, and the proceeds will go toward a wish list the park board has.
Chairman Kurt Swartz, of the Fenton Park Board, said the list includes another volleyball court at a basketball court, and a canoe launch, also for Silver Lake Park.
"We are exploring the possibility of an ice rink at some point," Swartz said.
A dog park is another possibility. They are grateful to Uncle Ray's Dairyland and the community for the support, he added.
What the park board is able to fund depends on the amount of money it raises, said Cherie Smith, fundraising coordinator.
Debbie McCarty, also of the park board, helped as they sold an ice cream to Spencer Rogers, visiting from Lake Orion.
In its traditional location near the tennis courts behind the the Send the Light Outreach booth featured items handmade by its members. Cheryl Martin, of Send the Light Outreach, on North LeRoy Street, said they raise money for missions.
This has included sending Bibles overseas, mainly to Central America, where the group has sent more than 100,000 Bibles. They have also sent copies to India, the Phillipines, Poland and Africa.
All proceeds from the booth go to missions, Martin added. It's their 13th year.
"We're enjoying it," said Anne Martin, also of Send the Light Outreach.
Handmade with care
Deborah Lampi, of Linden, also offered handmade items. Hers are bows, which she began making for her granddaughter, Sophia, 3.
"She's the reason I got started," Lampi said.
The Linden Lions Club was without its shed this Thursday, but it will be back next week, said John Sanborn. Club members make a shed each year to raffle off in October as a fundraiser for their projects. These include leader dogs for the blind, eye bank and helping people who have diabetes. The raffle drawing will be on Oct. 15, and tickets can be purchased at the Fenton Farmers Market and the Linden Farmers Market.
The Linden Farmers Market, held by the Mill on Wednesdays, runs through Sept. 12, Briggs said. Like the Fenton market, the Linden one coincides with outdoor concerts held on the same day, at the gazebo.
Kelly Postal, of Fenton, staffed her Nuthin' But Nuts booth across from the Linden Lions Club. Nuthin' But Nuts features natural nut butters, including hazelnut, peanut butter, almond, sunflower seed and white chocolate cherry. It's her second year at the market, and this year has been even better than the first for her booth, Postal said.
Alpacas are 'right up her alley'
Nearby, alpaca farmer Annette Taylor, from A.J. Alpaca Farm in Holly, sold alpaca fibers, roving, dyed fibers, yarn and finished items. Working on a loom, Taylor added to her inventory of scarves, a rug, hats and slippers.
She usually shares her space with a representative from Rose Hill Center, a rehabilitation center for people with mental illnesses, Taylor said. Some of the residents there made toy animals out of alpaca roving, sold at the A.J. Alpaca Farm booth.
An alpaca farmer for seven years, she said there are Alpaca Farm Days in September, when people can visit and learn about the animals.
Her work with special needs students for Holly Area Schools indirectly led to her alpaca farm, Taylor said. A job coach, she visited people's homes to work with them. One woman whose home she visited had alpacas.
"That was the end of that," Taylor said. "I bought one, I bought two, now I have nine."