Sunday, June 28, 2009
3 French Hens!
Traci Tessone, Jillian Haupt and Monica Vogel, from left, are the “Three French Hens”
Three local women have set out to show people they don’t have to drive hours to find the treasures of a french country market or a farmer’s market.
Instead, people will be able to find everything along the I & M Canal in Morris.
“We have a love of farmer’s markets,” Traci Tessone, one of the founders of Three French Hens, said.
“We felt Morris is a great community and it needs one.”
Tessone, Monica Vogel, and Jillian Haupt make up Three French Hens.
“We needed a name, so there is three of us, it’s a french market and we are women, so hens,” Vogel said.
Haupt said it presented itself as a perfect opportunity to showcase people from the area who have wares to sell.
“We were very selective about who we allowed in,” Tessone said.”You have to be an artisan or quality vendor.”
She said it gives local artists a storefront from which to sell their wares, which many don’t have.
While Tessone and Vogel have their own stores, Haupt knows what it’s like to market without a storefront. She currently sells her items online and in Vogel’s store.
They said one of the goals of the market is to bring people to Morris to show them all the town has to offer.
“We love our community,” Vogel said. “We go to Geneva and St. Charles to markets and we think, ‘Why can’t we be the next Geneva?’”
She said people will stop by to get gas or food on their way to Galena shopping for the day and she hopes the market will help to make Morris a destination, not just a stop over.
They chose to start the market to coincide with Nostalgia Days so families could spend the day doing things together.
“We have incorporated kid things so families can come together,” Haupt said. “I know when I want to go somewhere on a Saturday, I want to pack the family up and make a day of it. We want to give others that opportunity.”
To supplement the 45 vendors scheduled for the first market, those attending will receive bags containing a town map indicating what type of stores are on each street.
A jazz band will play on the packet boat replica in CanalPort Park, where the market will be held.
“We’d like to have something for everyone,” Tessone said.
While a lot of produce isn’t available this early in the season, it won’t keep customers from going home with food.
“We have a man who will be selling organic meat, such as beef, chicken, turkey, and elk,” Vogel said, “as well as free range eggs.”
The Morris Police Department will also be on hand to offer bicycle safety advice to anyone who wants to attend.
Today promises to bring jewelry, antiques, original artwork, and flowers – both fresh cut and ready to be planted – to the inaugural market. The area has room for 110 vendors and the women hope by the end of the season they’ll have every spot filled.
The French Market will take place on the second Saturday from July through October, with the October event having a bewitched theme and being held in the evening.
“The other dates are the same days as the car shows, so it will allow a family to come to the market, stop in one of the wonderful downtown restaurants for a bite to eat before spending the evening looking at cars,” Vogel said.
In case of rain, the market will be held across the street from the park in the old Firehouse Restaurant building.
“Rain or shine or even snow, the market will go on,” Haupt said.
By Heidi Terry-Litchfield - firstname.lastname@example.org