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Windmill will open for the season, April 24

PENN YAN—Local residents and tourists can welcome back The Windmill Farm and Craft Market for its 23rd season beginning Saturday, April 24.
Those who stop can select fresh produce, browse homemade goodies and jams, explore the many shops, try out a wagon and pony ride or even visit the on-site chiropractor.
Located at 3900 State Route 14A between Dundee and Penn Yan, The Windmill was the first farm and craft market in upstate New York, beginning with 89 vendors. Today, almost 200 vendors offer their items to shoppers who have at times totaled 10,000 people weekly.
Visitors can enjoy breakfast or lunch at picnic tables among pines, or grab a snack between vendors. Hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, French fries, bakery items, pretzels, deli food, fudge, baked goods, popcorn, candy and fried dough are among the foods served at The Windmill.
The variety of vendors is interesting to many, with vendors selling clothes, baked goods, jams and jellies, canned goods, quilts, books, household items, knickknacks, toys, furniture, coffee, flowers, gardening supplies, fresh produce, photographs, spices, jewelry, pet supplies, personalized items and much more.
The Windmill has its own cookbook for sale throughout the market or online as well.
This year, 11 new shops will also enter the market to join the array, including a chainsaw carver, potter, unique outdoor products, imported Mexican pottery, Afro-centric items from Africa, new quilted items, a producer who will offer blueberries and jam, and American-raised Waygu beef. The Finger Lakes Visitors Association will now have a booth providing Yates County tourism information as well.
“We are extremely excited about our new additions to the market. Adding to the variety makes a better shopping experience for locals and visitors alike,” said Lauren Welch, manager of the market.
Each year, two custom and classic car shows are held at The Windmill from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. They are professionally judged, awards are given to the top 41 vehicles, and the first 100 vehicles receive dash plaques. This year’s car shows will be held May 22 and Oct. 9, rain or shine.
The Windmill got started after Bill and Ruth Gunderman, along with Pat Gunderman and her husband, Ron Nissen, visited a farm and craft market in Pennsylvania in 1978. They thought it would be a great idea to place a similar market in Yates County.
Planning for the market didn’t actually begin until 1986, after receiving encouragement and support from their English and Mennonite friends, and when an interest meeting had 80 people show up.
Financial support became an issue. However, The Windmill was able to open successfully  June 27, 1987. It began with 64 vendors in two enclosed buildings and 25 outside vendors.
The next Saturday, July 4, traffic was backed up for five miles in each direction with people trying to get to the market. Since then the market has continued to grow.
The original site started with just 26 acres. More were added in 1995 to accommodate for excessive amounts of parking, equaling 31 acres today. Also over the years more enclosed buildings were added, an open produce shed was built, and outside vendor buildings multiplied.
Grants were awarded to The Windmill in 1988 and 2004 to construct sidewalks, concrete floors and restroom facilities, and to enclose the produce shed and former hay auction barn.
This year, a WindTamer turbine working windmill will also be installed. The WindTamer will help silently power the market through green energy, hopefully as soon as Memorial Day.
“This will be a more economical way to power our property up here where the wind blows most of the time. Our biggest energy draw is on Saturdays so we feel this is a step in the right direction for the future of the market,” Welch said.
A memorial walkway for the center court is also in the works.
The Windmill is open every Saturday through Dec. 11, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. including Memorial Day, July 4 and Labor Day. Parking and admission to the market is free.
Tour buses and dogs on a leash are welcome to visit the market. It is handicapped and stroller accessible. Wheelchairs are even available at the information booth.
For more, call 315-536-3032.

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