Farmers Markets are back and in full bloom

Flowers are blooming and temperatures are warming up, but one of the biggest signs that spring finally has arrived is the return of area farmers markets. Whether you "window shop" or splurge a little on some local art, you're sure to have a great time.

Market madness

At 8 a.m. Saturday, the 22nd annual Charleston Farmers Market will take over Marion Square. Throngs of tourists and locals alike will flock to the park to shop for local produce, fresh flowers, locally made food items, home decor and more. Visitors may enjoy live entertainment while they shop.

I recommend stopping by the Charleston Crepe Co.'s tent and grabbing a snack. Last year, I tried a sugar-dusted Nutella and strawberry crepe with a cup of chicory coffee. It was one of the tastiest and cheapest brunches I ate all summer.

The Charleston Farmers Market is open 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 18. Call 724-7309.

Can't make it downtown on Saturday? You don't have to miss out on the fun. The Mount Pleasant Farmers Market opens on the grounds of Moultrie Middle School at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Like the downtown market, the Mount Pleasant location will give shoppers the opportunity to purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables, arts and crafts, preserves, pies and more.

Each week's market will feature live music from artists and groups such as the Southern Flavor Bluegrass Band, Susie Summers, Bluestone Ramblers and others. There also will be games, crafts and other activities.

The Mount Pleasant Farmers Market opens at 3:30 p.m. and closes at dark. It will run through Oct. 18. Moultrie Middle is at 645 Coleman Boulevard. Call 884-8517 or visit www.townofmountpleasant.com.

Can't get enough local shopping? The Summerville Farmers Market opens at 8 a.m. Saturday in the First Citizens Bank parking lot on Main Street. It is open until 1 p.m. Call 871-6000.

The Coosaw Pointe Farmers Market opens Wednesday at the baseball field behind Publix on Dorchester Road. It is open noon-6 p.m. Wednesdays.

The North Charleston Farmers Market will open in the middle of Park Circle around 11 a.m. April 21.

Pet Fest

Once you get your fill of shopping, you might want to check out Pet Fest 2011, happening 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Palmetto Islands County Park in Mount Pleasant.

A Lowcountry favorite, Pet Fest gives pets and their owners a chance to compete in various contests including the Meet the Breed Dog Show, browse pet-related vendors, watch and participate in dock diving and visit dog-washing stations.

The weekend's events also will include children's activities and music by Unkle Funkle on Sunday.

Admission is $5 for adults and free for children 12 and under, Gold Pass members and leashed pets.

Palmetto Islands County Parks is at 444 Needlerush Parkway. Call 795-4FUN.