City farmers market kicks off Wednesday despite nearby construction project

May 18—WATERTOWN — With construction going on outside the Dulles State Office Building, the Chamber of Commerce was forced to make major changes to this year's farmer market.

A major reconstruction on the playground and deck began in April, so vendors will not be able to set up in front of the state office building when the Watertown Farm & Craft Market opens for the 48th annual season on Wednesday.

They'll be moving around the corner to Sterling Street.

Other vendors will remain in the grassy medians in front of the building.

The Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce is again organizing the farmers market.

With the construction at the state office building, Chamber CEO and President Kayla Jamieson said a lot of planning had to be done to make the changes for this season's farmers market.

"We're using every space available for us," she said, stressing she expects fans of the farmers market will again enjoy going to the event on Wednesdays.

For a number of years, state officials told the chamber that the playground project was going to happen but then didn't materialize.

Fortunately, however, they were told that it would likely be this year, so they had time to prepare, she said.

City and chamber officials worked with vendors to find spots over on Sterling Street for them.

Despite the layout change, the farmers market "will be full" this season, Jamieson said.

The chamber is setting up Food Truck Alley along Sterling Street with Scotty's Smokehouse BBQ, Lamont's Food Fare, Taco Joy and Tug Hill Artisan Roasters returning. They'll be joined by newcomers Humble Palace, featuring Polish food, and El Buen Sazon, serving Mexican food, this year.

The Johnny D's food truck will not return. Five new vendors that feature jewelry, crafts and tasty treats will be at the farmers market this year.

Established in 1977, the weekly Wednesday event will be held from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and conclude on Oct. 2.

The 19-week farmers market again will feature lunchtime concerts in front of City Hall.

The Watertown Farm & Craft Market contributes to the north country by providing a social environment that brings families, friends, and professionals to downtown Watertown every week.

Meawhile, few details have emerged about the construction underway in front of the state office building.

The state's Office of General Services has not released much information about the $1.75 million project. The project includes replacing a playground and making upgrades to the exterior deck and its drainage system.

The state isn't required to go through the city's site plan approval process.

City officials were under the impression that replacing the playground was the extent of the project, so they were surprised that it now includes the replacing the entire deck and the removal of several trees.

The project's completion is slated for October.