Fairgrounds Farmers Market invites you to visit
with us. We are located at 17th and Chew Streets
in the Allentown Fairgrounds, Allentown, PA.
With over 65 merchants, we are sure you will find
everything you need in one quick stop. Meats,
poultry, produce, deli, baked goods, gourmet
shops, seafood, candy, snacks, flowers,
restaurants, and much more at prices you won't
believe! Bring the whole family for a great time
and enjoy the feeling of a true farmers market.
Farmers markets have long
been part of the American urban landscape. In scenes of
bustling activity, country meets city as farmers, butchers,
and bakers sell their wares to rural and urban customers. In
Allentown, the farmer's market tradition goes back to the
early part of the century, when the "Morning Market" opened
at the corner of 8th and Gordon Streets. Here, local farmers
from around the Lehigh Valley sold their products together.
In those days, there were few large grocery stores in
the area, so people came from throughout the Valley to buy
their fruits, vegetables, eggs, chicken, pork, and beef. The
Market was open only once a week - on Saturday mornings.
Several decades later, the Morning Market merged with the
larger Allentown Fairground Farmers Market, located at the
county fairgrounds, which had been owned since 1889 by the
Lehigh County Agricultural Society. The bigger market,
housed in the brick exhibition hall built on the fairgrounds
in 1911, brought together merchants and farmers to sell
their wares, from produce to meat, tools, clothing and
gardening supplies. Rather than a once a week affair that
lasted for only part of the year, the Allentown Fairground
Farmers Market was open every Friday and Saturday, year
round. Later, the schedule was expanded to its present form,
which includes Thursdays.
The founders of the Fairground Farmers Market, John Devlin
and Willard Kistler, who were local businessmen, and John
Wetzel, a farmer, envisioned the market as a place where
shoppers could buy all they needed under one roof. They
leased concessions in the old building to local growers and
merchants, some of whose businesses are still operating in
the market at the end of the century.
In 1958, the "new wing" was added at the western end of the
Farmers Market. Connected to the original structure by an
inclined ramp, the addition brought the size of the market to
90,000 square feet, making it one of the largest markets in
the northeast. Today, the Fairground Farmers Market is one
of the biggest attractions of the Lehigh Valley. Under the
direction of Dan Wuchter, Sr., the old traditions are
maintained in a colorful, inviting atmosphere. A business
success and regional landmark, the market has even drawn the
attention of corporate grocery dealers hoping to capture
some of its appeal in chain supermarkets.
But nothing can duplicate the charm of this old market--or
the lively social energy and sense of humor that thrive
there. In an advertisement that ran in the Allentown Morning
Call in the 1960's, the managers declared what is still true
of the place: "We're so old-fashioned we're the most modern
market in the East!"
There are no gimmicks, no pretenses about the old fashioned
style of the market. On Saturday mornings, you can still
hear country people speaking Pennsylvania Dutch. But while
the style is old, the products themselves are the freshest
and of the highest quality in the region.
More than sixty stands and concessions offer a huge variety
of foods ranging from the familiar to the exotic: Amish pies
and pastries, baked on the premises by Amish vendors,
cheeses from everywhere on the planet, meats sold by local
livestock growers, produce from lettuce to passion fruit and
French olives, fresh baking chickens and turkey chorizo,
lamb chops, even emu and buffalo meat--all of the finest
quality, and at good prices.
The market is also a place where people go to eat. Stands
selling Chinese and Mediterranean food, pizza, seafood, and
some of the best barbecued chicken anywhere provide chairs
and table so you can consume their tempting wares on the
spot. Ready made salads, sauces, baked beans, beef, and
chicken dishes can be bought hot or cold; and desserts range
from elegant black forest cherry cake and fruit tarts to
local shoo-fly pie. Home made chocolate candies and
pretzels, hand-made on the premises, as well as pickles,
nuts, dried fruits, and home-made potato chips are just a few
of the many imported and very local snacks for sale.
Perhaps the most appealing thing about the Allentown
Fairground Farmers Market is the atmosphere. Sometimes it's
busy and noisy, and at certain hours it's quiet, but it's
always a great deal of fun. The vendors are genuinely
friendly, and buyers somehow aren't made to feel they're
competing with each other for a place in line or the
seller's attention. It's like a country fair every
weekend--an informal but well-run operation where you can
not only stock your pantry but have a very good time, at
"the most modern old fashioned scene in the East."