Welcome, all, to Intown Concord’s 2018 Market Days Festival

People walk along N. Main Street during opening day of Intown Concord’s Market Days Festival, Thursday, June 23, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)
People walk along N. Main Street during opening day of Intown Concord’s Market Days Festival, Thursday, June 23, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)
People walk along N. Main Street during opening day of Intown Concord’s Market Days Festival, Thursday, June 23, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)
People walk along N. Main Street during opening day of Intown Concord’s Market Days Festival, Thursday, June 23, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

The weekend the Capital Region has been looking forward to all year is finally upon us – Market Days.

Intown Concord’s annual three-day outdoor celebration of all things Concord and beyond starts this Thursday and will run through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day. This is a free festival that’s fun for the whole family, featuring hundreds of vendors, activities for kids and families, live music, loads of great food and general fun and revelry all over the downtown area.

This year will be the 44th installment of the celebrated tradition, and keeping true to form, this one figures to be bigger and better than last year’s event, featuring more of everything and more real estate occupied by vendors and demonstrators.

While this year’s festival will be similar to ones in recent past, there have been a few changes since last year, and they’re all for the better.

First off, there will be more vendors this year than ever before – not that there’s ever been a shortage of those. Kate Fleming, events and outreach coordinator at Intown Concord, which organizes and puts on Market Days, said they’ve added 50 new vendors this year, meaning there will be well over 200 tents set up hawking everything from T-shirts to handmade crafts and everything in between.

Another change is the area that used to be known as Free Family Fun is now called Downtime with Intown. While this area, on the State House lawn, will still cater to kids and families, it will be a little different from last year.

“In the past it’s been us bringing crafts and stuff to the lawn,” Fleming said. “I have a whole new committee this year, new people with fresh ideas, and they brought so much to the table. I think this is something people will really notice.”

At the Downtime with Intown section, there will be a chiropractor, yoga, a dog obedience exhibit, face painting, a presenter talking about hiking and more.

“It’s kind of a place people can come to just chill out, because Market Days can be pretty overwhelming on the street, so we wanted that lawn as a nice place for people to hang out,” Fleming said.

The ever-popular Kids’ Zone in front of the State House Plaza has also gotten an upgrade this year. There will, of course, still be a bounce house and mini golf, but new this year is a life-sized Angry Birds game, complete with a giant slingshot with pigs and a ball. There will also be life-sized Jenga, cornhole and endless hopscotch. The lone drawback is that the number of mini golf holes had to be reduced this year in order to have enough room for all of those new activities.

On Friday, there will be an outdoor movie, and not just any movie. We’re talking Black Panther, which was basically the most successful movie of all time after just one week in theaters – it’s made more than $1.3 billion already, so if you’re one of the handful of people who hasn’t seen it yet, this will be your chance. The movie screen will be set up on North Main Street, near the intersection with Centre Street, and the movie will start about 9 p.m. Make sure you bring a chair.

Also new this year, in that same area of North Main Street, will be the Lunch Lady food truck, who has rapidly been gaining notoriety and popularity in Concord. Fleming said the idea is to have plenty of activity on North Main, too, since the bulk of it has been concentrated on the south side in the past.

There’s plenty more to learn about, so keep turning pages to find out what else there is to see, do, taste and hear all weekend long.

Author: Jon Bodell

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