It’s Bradenton Farmers’ Market season. Here are 5 things to know before you go 

The Bradenton Farmers’ Market is back.

The colorful community gathering returns to Old Main Street in downtown Bradenton this Saturday from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., and it will happen each weekend through the end of May.

The event is hosted by local nonprofit Realize Bradenton, and it brings regional growers, crafters, artisans, chefs and musicians to town for a display of talents and wares.

Here’s a guide to help you get the most out of your farmers’ market adventure.

Parking is free on the weekend in downtown Bradenton. Tiffany Tompkins ttompkins@bradenton.com

Where to park

A portion of Old Main Street is closed to vehicle traffic for the market.

Downtown parking is free on weekends, so there are lots of spots to choose from in the surrounding area.

In addition to street parking, public parking is available at the Manatee County Administration building at 414 10th St. W., and the Judicial Center parking garage at 615 12th St. W.

There are also a few dozen parking spaces across from the Sage Biscuit restaurant near the intersection of Manatee Avenue West and 14th Street West.

Customers browse a variety of booths on the opening day of the Bradenton Farmers’ Market in 2017. Herald File Photo

What to bring

The Farmers’ Market is all outdoors, so prepare for the weather before you go — whether that means shades and sunscreen, an umbrella and raincoat or a parka (just kidding — it’s Florida).

Bringing along some reusable bags for your market finds is always a good idea.

Many vendors accept credit cards, but it’s best to have cash on hand if you want to avoid hunting for a nearby ATM.

Big dogs, little dogs and all dogs in between are welcome at the Bradenton Farmers’ Market- on a leash, of course. Tiffany Tompkins ttompkins@bradenton.com

Who to bring

The Bradenton Farmers’ Market is family friendly, and dogs on leashes are also welcome.

In fact, events throughout the year are specifically geared toward children and fur babies, such as ArtSlam in March, the Children’s Book Fair in April and the extremely cute Howl’ween Pet Parade in October.

If you plan on bringing a pup to the market, make sure that weather conditions are safe to do so. Hot temperatures can make dogs overheat and hot pavement can wound paws.

Here’s a good rule of thumb, according to SPCA Florida: “Put the back of your hand on the pavement. If you cannot hold it there for 5 seconds, it is too hot to walk (your dog).”

Vegetables, fruits, plants and flowers are in abundance at Bradenton Farmers’ Market, which is every Saturday, 9-2, from October 6-May 25. Tiffany Tompkins ttompkins@bradenton.com

What‘s for sale?

Expect to see vendors selling everything from soup to nuts (literally).

The Bradenton Farmers’ Market brings more than 35 vendors together in one place, offering items such as:

Fruits and vegetables (locally and regionally sourced, including organic and hydroponically-grown produce);

Honey from Florida;

Customers browse decorative plants at the Bradenton Farmers’ Market on Old Main Street in downtown Bradenton. Bradenton Herald File Photo

Plants (flowers, bromeliads, air plants and more);

Fresh food (kettle corn, lemonade, seafood, street eats, Italian cuisine, Greek pastry and more);

Packaged food (Coffee, canned goods, sweets and more);

Pet treats and apparel;

Arts and crafts;

Clothing and jewelry.

The market also features live music performances, cooking demonstrations and art displays.

On the third Saturday of every month, dozens of local crafters set up along Fourth Avenue West for Mainly Art; the event intersects with the Bradenton Farmers’ Market.

Visiting the Farmers’ Market is also a great chance to explore the downtown dining scene. After you shop, there are plenty of spots for a tasty lunch, an afternoon dessert or a frosty beer on and around Old Main Street.

IMG_Downtown_Bradenton_F_3_1_IODOPSDQ_L391115738 (1).JPG
Chef Dana Johnson, owner of Sugar Cubed Pastry Lab in downtown Bradenton, gives a cooking demonstration at a past Bradenton Farmers’ Market. Herald File Photo

Music and special events

Don’t just shop local — listen local, too.

The Bradenton Farmers’ Market provides live music every week from a diverse range of Bradenton-area singer-songwriters, folk musicians, jazz players and more.

Many special events and themed market days throughout the year also keep things interesting on Old Main.

This season’s Bradenton Farmers' Market events include the Howl’ween Pet Parade (Oct. 26), Farm City Week (Nov. 9), ArtSlam (March 7) and the Children’s Book Fair and Family Fun Day (April 4). Ryan Callihan rcallihan@bradenton.com

This season’s events include the Howl’ween Pet Parade (Oct. 26), Farm City Week (Nov. 9), ArtSlam (March 7) and the Children’s Book Fair and Family Fun Day (April 4).

Keep an eye on Realize Bradenton’s website and Facebook page for updates about this year’s special events.

See you at the market.

Details: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. every Saturday Oct.-May. Old Main Street, Bradenton. Free.

Info: realizebradenton.com.