On Saturday, July 27 from 9am to 3pm the abundance and excitement of a French country market comes to Connecticut. For the fifteenth year, the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme hosts Market En Plein Air, a place for artisanal bakers, organic farmers, and specialty food producers to show off their delicacies. Last year, over 6,000 people attended this special event that is part of Old Lyme Midsummer Festival. An artisan craft fair, dog contest, Guy Wolff pottery demonstration and book signing, and hands-on activity area round out the food-focused experience!
Modeled after the outdoor markets found in villages throughout France, Market En Plein Air features the freshest organic fruits and vegetables, flowers, breads, fine cheeses, herbs, and specialty foods -- all of the highest quality and all produced in Connecticut. From 9am to 3pm, twenty-five specially selected vendors will be on hand with delicious items to sample and take home. Festivalgoers can enjoy a prepared breakfast and lunch by Gourmet Galley and stroll the Museum’s 11-acre historic site along the banks of the Lieutenant River.
Many vendors from previous years are returning with some of their most popular specialties, including artisan breads by Howard’s Bread in Chester and Alforno’s in Deep River, farmstead cheeses by Cato Corner Farm in Colchester; organic vegetables by White Gate Farm in East Lyme; hostas and shade plants by John O’Brien Nursery in West Granby; and Italian baked goods and pasta from Meriano's Bake Shoppe in Guilford. This year Ekonk Hill Turkey Farm in Moosup add to their usual selection with turkey pot pies, prepackaged ice cream, and rootbeer and creamsicle floats.
The market takes its name from the tradition of painting en plein air, which is French for, "in the open air." The Florence Griswold Museum is the home of Lyme Art Colony, a group of early 20th century Impressionist artist who came to capture Connecticut’s abundant scenery. These artists took their canvases, paints, and palettes into the pastures and down to the shoreline to paint the world firsthand. Market "En Plein Air" celebrates Connecticut’s artistic heritage as well as its homegrown goodness. Located on the riverfront grounds of the Museum, the market takes place under a series of tents bursting with colorful displays.
Even four-legged friends can participate in the day’s activities with Parading Paws Dog Show hosted by Vista Vocational & Life Skills Center of Westbrook. Does your dog have the best smile, longest tail, biggest paws? Registration is from 9- 10am. Judging begins at 10:30am. Special categories include Best Trick and Best Costume.
From 9am to 3pm, Crafted-by-Hand: An Artisan Fair features noted jewelry designers Michaelle Pearson (Old Lyme), Jennifer Johnson (Lisbon), Billie Beads (Brooklyn, NY), Renee Sawyer (Newington), and Linda Davidson (Columbia); potter Pat Rist (Branford), artist Angie Falstrom (Lyme), and wood crafter Raymond Mederios, Jr.
Next to the Market on the grounds of the Museum is Hands-On/Minds-On, where visitors of all ages enjoy fun, creative projects provided by area cultural organizations from 10am to 3pm.
From 10am to 1pm meet Master Potter Guy Wolff and author Suzanne Staubach and purchase the new publication Guy Wolff Master Potter in the Garden as well as a special limited edition pot designed especially for the Florence Griswold Museum. Wolff is probably the best-known potter working in the United States today. In gardening circles, he is highly revered, a horticultural icon. Wolff also demonstrates how he makes hand-thrown pots inspired by 18th and 19th century garden flowerpots.
Entrance to activities is free. Admission to the Museum and riverfront gallery, which features the special exhibition, Animal/Vegetable/Mineral: An Artist's Guide t o the World will be reduced to $5 for the day. The Florence Griswold Museum is located in Old Lyme’s historic district at 96 Lyme Street. Exit 70 off I-95. (860) 434-5542. www.FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org.