BOONE — As is tradition, the Watauga County Farmers’ Market prepares to open this weekend on the first Saturday of May.

While the market is set to continue many of its annual rituals, it will also introduce new programs for the 2016 season.

The farmers’ market season officially begins at 8 a.m. May 7 at Daniel Boone Park (Horn in the West) in Boone.

To celebrate opening day, there will be a special celebration featuring live music by the Swing Guitars with Andy Page and dulcimer/handpan player Marshall Daniels; a Kid’s Corner with a seed planting station by Dick and Joan Hearn; CPR instruction hosted by Watauga Medics; and 10-minute chair massages with a licensed massage therapist.

According to Market Manager Ben Massey, the 2016 farmers’ market will be host to 65 vendors, including 43 produce vendors, 22 craft artisans and 10 “value-added” vendors, which sell products such as honey, baked goods, jams, cheese, soaps and more.

“(The farmers’ market) is the perfect atmosphere for farmers who are committed to providing high quality produce, meats and other products, and for talented artisans to come together year after year to give their friends and customers what they’ve come to expect, nothing but the best in fresh produce and one-of-a-kind artwork,” Massey said.

New this year are three vendors: Country Ham’s Biscuit Bar, Mountain Flowers Cupcakes and Elk Creek Artisan Foods.

The 2016 season also ushers in a new program, the Donation Station, which is a booth where vendors and customers can donate food to those in need.

“It is simply the place to be in Boone on Saturday mornings: a place to meet old friends, make new friends, enjoy a delicious cup of freshly brewed coffee, enjoy wonderful baked goods, actually have a real conversation with a farmer to learn about their products and purchase some really fine art from local artisans, all while enjoying great music,” Massey said. “It’s all about keeping it local.”

After the market, Horn in the West is also host to two more events: the Village Vision community festival from noon to 7 p.m., and the Daniel Boone Native Gardens Wildflower Walk and Plant Sale from noon to 4 p.m.

The farmers market is held at 591 Horn in the West Drive in Boone. For more information, visit www.wataugacountyfarmersmarket.org.

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