Minturn’s booming market |

Minturn’s booming market

Matt Zalaznick

But for the rugged artists who bring their crafts to the Minturn Market every summer, however, running from an animal the size of a tractor-trailer rig is as integral a part of the creative process as melting a clock.

“It’s part of the fun. There’s always that added risk of being chased by a moose,” artist Doug Nordberg said at least year’s market.

Nordberg scours the woods of Northern Wyoming for antlers shed by moose, deer and elk, using them to make chairs, chandeliers and lamps.

But the Minturn Market, which kicks off June 22 and runs every Saturday until Sept. 14, isn’t just about furniture makers who have a screw loose. The streets of Minturn are lined –from about 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. – with local delicacies, fresh produce, fruit, a vast gallery of crafts and hundreds of browsers strolling in the sunshine.

“There are great artisan products, and it’s a warm and friendly atmosphere,” said John Moorman, of Edwards, who was visiting the market with his wife Carolyn one Saturday last summer.

This year, the market will expand by about 30 percent, with more live music, including a series of five concerts by the Vail Jazz Foundation starting July 27. There will be more produce, fruits and unique food products, said Liz Campbell, event administrator.

“It’s a real local, hometown scene. It’s a wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning,” Campbell said. “And it’s a great way to support local farmers and local artists.”

Among the local artists last summer was Bonnie Gerhmann of Eagle-Vail, who sold art made from driftwood she collected on the beaches around Seattle, as well as decorative wine corks made to look like skiing and snowboarding snowmen, Santas and reindeer.

Gerhmann, whose booth had Christmas trees teeming with dozens of colorful corks, said she doesn’t drink that many bottles of wine.

“I’m a flight attendant, so I get a lot of the corks from opening bottles on the airplane,” she said. “Also, I get some from friends.”

Why would someone need a decorative wine cork?

“Some people use them as table settings for place cards; others tie them to bottles of wine they give as gifts,” Gerhmann said.

Other booths offered deep massages, homemade jewelry, fresh baked bread and produce.

Dentist Grant Ritchey, who spends about a month of every year in Avon, came all the way from Norman, Okla., to sell his pudgy pig sculptures.

“I was taking classes for about three years and my wife asked me if I could make something besides nude people. So I started doing animals,” Ritchey said. “I started making all kinds of different animals, but for some reason people went crazy for the pigs and I couldn’t keep up.”

Ritchey said the Minturn Farmer’s Market is an ideal place to show off his sculptures.

“These little pigs have come to market,” he said.

But some just come to take in the scenery and relax for awhile.

Dick Puetzer of Vail said last summer he went to the market every weekend but didn’t buy very much.

“I come out for breakfast, to read the paper and people watch,” Puetzer said.

The loudest of all artists at last year’s market, however, was James Schultz, a chainsaw sculptor who lives near Colorado Springs.

The cheerful wooden bears Schutlz carves out of logs aren’t garish, outrageously ornate or exceptionally colorful –but they are made with a dangerous power tool, so don’t bother him while he’s creating.

“I see the bear in there and I just cut the wood away to get to the bear,” said Schultz.

Oh yeah, he prefers gas and he’s still got all his toes and fingers.

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