Soon thereafter I hear, “mama, I wanna go to the market!”
Oh yes. Those ever so familiar 7 words coming from the sweet lips of my 3 yr old. In my mind I love that she “loves local.” In her mind, she’s anxiously anticipating the oatmeal raisin cookie and bites of hot pretzel she will soon receive. We clean up, pack up, and head out. We purchase our favorite goodies, find our seats in from of the musicians, and the little ladies eat their treats, unaware of anything but the guitars in front of them. The husband and I sip iced coffee while we decide if he plans to stand in line for his favorite grub, all while the wind blows through our hair and we relive days of carefree goodness.
WHOAA . Rewind. Yeah, dont let me fool you. Dominating the beloved 2nd Street Market with two girls under 4 is not always a walk in the park, but it can be done. That’s why I am here. I want to make your visit to this awesome local hangout as relaxing and enjoyable as possible. Because we all know, once they poop their diaper or relentlessly beg for more snacks, sometimes we are just done. Follow my categorized guide below on how you can engage your littles among the hustle and bustle of the Saturday morning market, fill their bellies with kid loving food, visit some hip vendors, and make your trip to the market an enjoyable afternoon for the entire family!
WHAT IS THE MARKET?
The 2nd Street Market is an indoor / outdoor market located in and around a historic Dayton freight house. Located at 600 E 2nd St in Dayton, it is home to multiple local food vendors and artisans. Musicians grace it’s presence on Saturday’s from 8am-1pm and while it is also open Thursday and Friday 11am-3pm, my focus will be on Saturdays (8am-3pm) – the busiest day by far!
– to AVOID the crowd arrive either first thing (think roll out of bed and caffeinate yourself), or wait until 12:30/1ish . Be prepared, some vendors may run out of food as the afternoon progresses, and music stops at 1pm. So weigh out what is most important to you.
– to be PART OF the crowd, and ‘feel the vibe’ of the market, head there mid morning. It gets crowded, and loud, and fun.
Baby carrier vs stroller.
On our most recent trip we braved the Britax, and we survived. If you have both, I would recommend bringing both, pending the age of your littles. I need the saving grace of my stroller some days. Because of the crowd, and the limited space in the main walkway, a baby carrier will save you from people dodging and toe smashing. On the other hand, a stroller sometimes gives you the ‘green light’ to bust on through, and also serves as an extra seat for your little, as seats can be hard to come by. My suggestion if you are debating, wear the baby and throw the stroller in the car.
I recommend you follow the system my husband and I use. TABLE STALK. This involves arriving with our #1 mission being to locate a table. Our favorite location is near the musicians, which is also away from the main crowd of the market. Many times these tables open up before those next to the food booths, which are down the main walkway. Be prepared to share tables or sit closely to your neighbor. Once the table is claimed THEN we rotate heading out to browse the booths, buy some goodies, and let the kiddos explore. I definitely recommend hunting for seats by the music. This is an automatic attention-inducing / energy outlet for my girls. They rotate between sitting and bouncing around their seats, to pointing out the bass guitarists sunglasses, to dancing in the aisles. Music and happy kids seem to go hand in hand.
Think CARBS, COOKIES, COLD. Yup. When it’s market day we break the rules. I always pack some ‘good for you’ go to foods (fruit, veggies, water, easy snack items) so I’m not breaking the bank. I also don’t worry about my girlies having a well balanced lunch at the market (GASP!!). No offense, but the Mediterranean panini with a side of greek salad is for ME! Most of the time my girlies want what they don’t get at home anyway. So splurge on yourself and the kiddos. That’s the fun of it! Here are a few of my girls favorite vendors:
Fronana – dairy, gluten, sugar and artificial ingredient free ice cream. They function from a small cart that literally is pulled by a bike. Think ice cream man on 2 wheels. I am unsure if they are there every Saturday, but if you see them, try them! Strawberry and Mango Pineapple are our personal fav. A double scoop is $5 and all 4 of us grazed on it, with the 3 yr old polishing it off.
Rahn’s Artisan Breads – the owner of Rahn’s is a Dayton native who started his baking career in college (Graduated from Wright State University). Their menu ranges from breads, to oversized soft pretzels, bagels, scones, and the beloved oatmeal-raisin cookie. Their large cookies are only $1, and sometimes you may even get one for free if you have your little on your hip when you approach the counter.
Big Sky Bread Company – yes. more carbs. What I love about Big Sky is that they use minimal ingredients in their breads. We aren’t a big bread eating family, but I will say that the free extra large chunks of bread they give away helps make little tummies (and mama tummies) happy.
Sweet P’s Ice Pops – think fresh, vibrant, sweet, and minimal. Sweet P’s features handcrafted ice pops perfect for little hands. They range from water based to dairy based pops, to new paleo pops. All are served on a stick, and their mini pops even my 19 month old can handle without needing to scrub her down with baby wipes. SCORE!
FUN FOR BUSY HANDS AND EYES
As we all know, kids cannot typically sit for extended periods of time. While there are so many fun vendors, these specific vendors have been unexpected entertainment for my girls. SCORE!
Fabric Art Creations – a vendor that features eco-friendly products made from recycled and repurposed fabrics. Think coin purses, pot holders, wallets, jewelry, and the list goes on. My daughter enjoys ‘pretend shopping’ for mama, as well as exploring the booth. They feature great gift options for little people also.
Friends of the Humane Society – ‘TANGO’ was the latest cat who graced our presence thanks to the Humane Society. I love that they not only feature their Animal Snackers Bakery homemade animal treats that my daughter likes to gawk at (and sometimes attempt to purchase as a snack), but that they have a real live animal that serves as a small petting zoo. Yes, your little can pet the cats, talk to the cats, and maybe even adopt one!
The Flowerman – ahh yes. I believe it is because of the Flowerman that my 3yr old is currently planning to have pink and purple flowers at her ‘wedding to mama’ next month. His deals are outrageously wonderful. Have your little help you pick out a few bundles of flowers (note – he tends to randomly lower the prices as the day progresses, so listen carefully to his shouts of price breaks), and turn flower shopping into a lesson on colors and petal shapes.
Whether you are able to peacefully sip your iced coffee while your toddler danced in the aisle, or if you were present with your messy bun and yoga pants rocking a sleeping baby; I do hope these simple tips help make your market experience even more enjoyable!
How have you made your trips to 2nd St market more kid friendly? Any other local market vendors you love, because quite frankly, they keep your kids happy and entertained? Please share! I am ALWAYS looking for more suggestions!