WESTFIELD - The Cross Roads Market, located at 6017 Westfield-Sherman Road in Westfield, will open for its 17th season this Saturday.
"I've been here 17 years and there's still a lot to see and do. There are changes all the time at Cross Roads," said Henry Link, who has been a part of the Cross Roads Farm and Craft Market cooperative since its inception.
"My wife still has our original booth, but over the years I've added others to keep myself busy and because I thought the market needed them," he said. "This year I'm building one that will have a lot to look at. It will be the only booth with a second floor."
While Henry has been doing construction on his newest venture, the neighboring Merritt Winery booth has undergone a major facelift, as well. It has been completely renovated and a wine bar added, as well as an expansion that doubles its size to better serve customers.
Last year Vetter Vineyards joined the Cross Roads family, so wine aficionados now have two choices to make their time at the market that much sweeter. Wine tasters can have samples to help them pick that "just right" wine, and then buy a bottle or a case to take home.
There will be new faces alongside the returnees, along with free activities for children in Building 1. Shoppers so often contend with children who are not always thrilled to be along for the ride. Now kids can color, make greeting cards, and do crafts. Face painting is available, as well, to make a visit to Cross Roads a fun experience for young and old.
Returning visitors will enjoy the new art gallery in Building 3. Artists from around the area are combining their considerable talents to make a space that is part museum, part storefront. "There will be a lot to look at, but everything is for sale, too," said Katherine "Blanche" Milliman, whose daughter Tracy will be one of the artists featured. Blanche and Tracy also have Blanche's Goodie Garden, filled with cheeses, jams, and pantry items, among other goods.
And new to Building 2 is The Gypsy's Trinkets. Artist and vendor Stephanie Larson-Green features beautiful jewelry with her own glass beads. Each piece is a one-of-a-kind of her own design. Stephanie has handmade tote bags, as well. Lucky visitors may even get a chance to see the artist at work. She has plans to break out the blowtorch and do some of her beadwork on site this year.
"I am just so pleased with all of the changes. Our website is updated and easier to use, many of the vendors have shaken things up a bit and freshened their spaces, and we've added some new events to our calendar. May 10 is the Soup-R Supper cook-off to benefit Lily's Hope, and in June we have a motorcycle cruise-in," said Gerry Vacanti, artist, potter, and president of the Cross Roads board of directors. "I've moved my own booth to Building 2, and added Coach Purses to my line. I hope folks come out to see us."
Open from the first week in May until the last Saturday before Christmas, Cross Roads Farm and Craft Market is always looking for more vendors and artists. For more information, visit www.TheCrossRoadsMarket.com or check out their Facebook page.