MINTURN — For anyone interested in a summer market slightly off the beaten path and boldly different, the turn off Interstate 70 at exit 171 for Minturn is well worth taking.
Head south a couple of miles along Route 24, a two-lane highway that winds its way like a slithering snake through the canyon. Here, the Minturn Market is at the base of tall rock walls, cut away long ago by Gore Creek, and is cozied up to a cluster of historic homes and shops.
The Minturn Market, open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. through September, is bohemian, eclectic, creative and authentic. It has the feeling of a Turkish bazaar: untamed, vibrant and wonderfully varied. Not only is it a farmers market, but it also offers a lovely hodgepodge of nearly 100 tents filled with artwork, crafts, clothing and jewelry.
As you enter, a burst of color hits you. Pashmina scarves move in the summer breeze; mesmerizing music played on a steel handpan fills the air, and soon you are swept up into the swarming crowd. Nearly 30,000 visitors attend the market every summer. Still, the pace of the market is laid back, and the vendors are warm and engaging.
The names of Minturn’s vendors illustrate the flavor of the market: Beyond the Tree Woodworks, Dope on a Rope Soap, Keen i Design, Living Greens, Mountain Pedaler, Son of a Beaver, Trinkets From My Travels, Tweety Pie Bags, Up Your Alley, woodZwayz and more.
Linda Lebid, of Lebid Designs Jewelry, has been with the market since it began in 1998. She is an artist, a jewelry designer and a color consultant. She works with subtleties her clients may not identify themselves and helps them accessorize, highlighting their best features.
Randi Lee Levin, also known as The Muffin Lady, is also a dedicated Minturn Market “vendeuse.” Levin is the authority on high altitude baking, winning the Gourmand’s World Cookbook Award for Best First Cookbook in 2004. She comes from Evergreen every Saturday to share her recipes and baked goods. She doesn’t consider herself an expert, but simply declares, “I play with food,” and that is how she comes up with her recipes like her “Oh, my God! Chocolate Cake.”
Robby Rosenberg is a musician at the market whose music most find captivating. His instrument, called a “halo,” produces a sound that is soothing and organic. The pentatonic scale of Rosenberg’s steel handpan makes it pleasing. These instruments only exist in limited numbers in the USA, Switzerland, Spain and Russia.
Matt Holmes and Elise Reynolds, of Double Black Designs, are a dynamic team who own an exciting fledgling business selling puzzles of local trail maps. Reynolds is also a graphic artist and designs apparel and hats. She leads an open air yoga class every morning before the market on Cemetery Road.
Many local businesses support the market as well. Barry Clark, of Weston Snowboards, is introducing a new skateboard design. Jim Popek, of Mountain Pedaler, has a tented area behind his shop, which was voted one of the Top 100 Bike Shops in North America and offers a full range of services and products. Matt Sprecher, of Minturn Anglers, offers gear from Sitka and Freefly and access to the most private water in Eagle County.