MOORESTOWN >> The holidays came early to Burlington County’s weekly farmers market and so did the shoppers who came out in record numbers for Burlington County’s Winter Holidays in July celebration.

The special holiday-themed farmers market July 17 featured more than 50 farms, vendors and artisan crafters and drew a record 1,449 vehicles to the Burlington County Agricultural Center, a new attendance record for the weekly farmers market, which is now in the middle of its 15th season.

The previous record was 1,429 vehicles counted at the farmers market on July 14, 2018.

“Our farmers market is always a great attraction, but it’s great to know that the market’s farms and vendors may have gotten an even bigger boost from this special event,” said Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson. “We all know how difficult 2020 was for our farmers and our small businesses, so bringing them some early holiday cheer to the market was another way we could try to support them and their recovery.”

In addition to the vendors, the event featured a visit from Santa Claus – dressed in summer attire rather than his typical heavy red suit – as well as a special winter-themed cooking demonstration inside the center’s farmhouse, where dozens learned how to make frozen hot chocolate.

Toys for Tots was also on hand to collect donations.

Commissioner Linda Hynes, who is the Board’s liaison to the Department of Resource Conservation and Parks, said the event likely helped expose more people to the farmers market and the Agricultural Center, which was previously a 68-acre dairy farm before the County preserved the land in 2005.

A portion of the property continues to be leased for farming and the site also has community gardens and field plots maintained by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension. There is also a commercial kitchen used for County-sponsored cooking classes and other events.

“The Agricultural Center is one of the real jewels of our parks system. The farmers market may be its chief attraction but there’s plenty else to see and experience,” said Hynes. “It’s a fantastic place and events like this help more people discover it.”

The farmers market is open every Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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