Concert and market series to start Saturday in Granite Falls

This summer, the Granite Falls Chamber of Commerce, along with other nonprofit organizations, is bringing a series of monthly outdoor free concerts and markets to the downtown area.

Riverside Market and Muse kicks off from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and features crafts, music, art, theater, vintage and more. It will be located along the Minnesota River in downtown Granite Falls.

“I’ve always thought we had a perfect spot here,” said Mary Gillespie, executive director of the Granite Falls Chamber of Commerce. She said the area has a spacious plaza, riverwalk and a riverside park. The event, which will be on the second Saturday of every month during the summer, is funded by the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Last year, Granite Falls had a Wednesday afternoon market. It had great vendors, said Gillespie.

“I wrote a great last December to the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council to fund the musicians and other fun activities to go along with the market,” Gillespie said.

Gillespie said there will be several vendors at the Riverside Market and Muse.

“It’s free for vendors,” Gillespie said. The Granite Area Arts Council is helping with classes, she said. “A lot of the artists are going to be selling their photos and arts. A lot of vendors have signed up for all the months.”

Saturday’s activities include a songwriting workshop with Twin Cities poet/musician Brian Laidlaw from 9:30-11:30 a.m. The songs will be written on the sidewalks with chalk. An art activity will be creating parade puppets with Granite Falls artist Tamara Isfeld. Crooked Dice, a group from St. Cloud, will have a music activity for kids from noon to 3 p.m.

“They work a lot with music education,” Gillespie said of Crooked Dice. Kids will get a lesson on the harmonica, she said.

Ron Hanson will perform from 3-4 p.m. Saturday, and Laidlaw will perform from 4-6 p.m.

“He’s been working all over the place, songwriting,” Gillespie said of Laidlaw.

Bootleggers will serve food and drinks from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and there will also be happy hour on the footbridge, Gillespie said.

The schedule for the coming months are:

June 11- Mill Pond Quartet from noon to 3 p.m.; Ron Hanson, 3-4 p.m., happy hour on the footbridge, food and drinks by Bootleggers

July 9 – Jerry Ostensoe from noon to 3 p.m., Ron Hanson, 3-4 p.m.

Aug. 13 – Outta Towners and Ukulele Drive from noon-4 p.m., Ron Hanson, Minnesota Sings Contest, GFRR family picnic, Riverside Jam, 4 p.m., American Legion

Sept. 10 – One day walking theater workshop and performance at 2 p.m., Ashley Hanson, Placebase Productions

Gillespie said if anyone would like to perform during any of the Saturdays, they are welcome to come.

“I’m hoping it will grow into a larger thing,” Gillespie said.