CHESTERTON | The weather was perfect for the season opening of Chesterton’s European Market on Saturday as locals and visitors clamored for a taste of their beloved pastries, chutneys, and cheeses.
Neighbors hugged one another and dogs wagged their tails as the town came out of a figurative hibernation after a long winter. The market is just as much about community and camaraderie as it is about business.
“I’m excited to see all the locally-made food again because I like to try everything,” said Jeannette Thomas of Chesterton.
Nibbling on a steak taco with pico de gallo, Thomas says she typically visits the market about once a month through the season.
“I enjoy the variety without having to leave the community,” she said.
Market Manager Deanna Kasch says this year’s market offers some new vendors, such as Lake Michigem, a fossil merchant; Antique Candle Work; Nature’s Cupboard, a local business and member of the Duneland Chamber of Commerce; and Popolano’s, a local restaurant which is also a member of the chamber which founded and organizes the event.
“It has been a really good opening day,” said Kasch. “We started off a little worried because of the weather, but then the sun came out and the people came out,” she said noting that they are at “almost a full house” with 87 vendors displaying everything from rings made from antique spoons to organic honey.
One of those vendors, Ralph Thomas of Gary, said this year marks his eleventh displaying his photographs of landscapes, landmarks, and nature.
“This market allows me to show my work every weekend because it is so well supported by the residents and it’s usually a good day in the sun,” Thomas said.
For Nikki Wood of Chesterton who came to try out a savory hand pie stuffed with chicken and artichoke and browse with her sister and friend, the market is about more than meets the eye.
“I love how busy it is and that we have such a vibrant downtown in Chesterton,” Wood said.
Chesterton's European Market runs every Saturday from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. through the end of October.