Ready for another Rootenanny

Back in 2011, when Alex first started working for the Fulton and Kingfield farmers markets, our one-time Harvest Hoedown was an event of lore among our board. It was mentioned in passing — it wasn’t a current, realistic pursuit — but it was mentioned often and with great pride and nostalgia.

Hadn’t it just been so wonderful?

The scene had been set in 2008, when we were still just the Kingfield Farmers Market and operating under the umbrella of the Kingfield Neighborhood Association. Corner Table was in the hands of Scott Pampuch, and he and Theresa Lien of Anodyne joined forces with the market to shut down 43rd Street between Nicollet and 1st avenues on a crisp evening in October. There was a square dance and a caller, and might there have been fire pits, too? Certain details were fuzzy, but it didn’t matter; all agreed the neighborhood had come out for a good time in support of the market.

That evening was replayed over the years, and the memory lived on. But increasingly, it was paired with a new thought: We should do that again. We had sit-down meetings about it in 2015, before market season took over. And then, suddenly, it was 2016 and we were pulling the trigger.

Affectionately dubbed the “Rootenanny” (i.e., a hootenanny to benefit our now independent Neighborhood Roots organization), last year’s event took place on a beautiful summer night in July in the parking lot of Nicollet Ace Hardware. With their gated parking lot (perfect and also necessary for beer and wine sales) and their long-time support of our Kingfield Market, it seemed like a natural fit. Our volunteers, particularly our dedicated Kingfield Operations Committee, sprung into action, and between them and our board, we pulled off a revival of the long-time daydream.

Lo and behold, a year later, we’re back!

Our Rootenanny is set to be an annual event, this time 6 p.m.–10 p.m. July 29. The major groundwork has been set, and it’s now a matter of fine-tuning and upgrades (such as to our sound system).

First up on stage this time around is No Man’s String Band, a Bluegrass quintet playing old-timey music with modern flair. If their tight harmonies and churning fiddle aren’t enough to get you moving, certainly the Latin/Caribbean grooves of Malamanya will do the trick. Malamanya’s vintage sound and on-stage enthusiasm are sure to be a joyful conclusion to the evening.

Keep cool throughout the night with a selection of beers on tap thanks to Bent Paddle Brewing Co. Nearby farm-to-fork restaurant Blackbird will be working the bar on-site — and pouring wine, too.

While the adults keep the drinks flowing, kids can keep distracted with family-friendly fun including giant Jenga, corn hole toss, face-painting and coloring activities. Should all of your dancing stir an appetite, we’ll have a couple of food trucks, and MN Nice Cream on-site to round out the night.

Won’t you join us for a summer night out in support of the markets?

Tickets for the 2017 Rootenanny are $15 for adults and $5 for kids 12 and under. They are available to purchase at any of the three Neighborhood Roots farmers markets, at Nicollet Ace Hardware, at Blackbird, and online at Should any be left, they’ll be sold at the door for $18 (adults).

Although many generous small businesses have partnered with Neighborhood Roots, our yearly budget still relies on the support of the communities we serve. Your support is essential in the continuation of the Neighborhood Roots mission to promote vibrant community and support local farmers and small businesses. So, dust off your boots, come listen to fantastic music, enjoy the summer night and support the continued work that puts on farmers markets you love.

Alexandra Cortes is the executive director of Neighborhood Roots. She has been growing with the markets since 2011. Dustin Hertzog is the chief donut purveyor at Bogart’s Doughnut Co. and a board member of Neighborhood Roots since 2014.