Have a rendezvous with science and food

Some good chemistry will be taking over the streets of Markham this month—literally—with the return of Science Rendezvous to kick off another season for the Main Street Markham farmers’ market.

The interactive science fair, which takes place May 7 from 10 am until 3 pm, rounds out the musical entertainment and farm-to-fork shopping, for which the farmers’ market is always known, with the goal of engaging kids of all ages—and perhaps even educating them.

Science Rendezvous is a national event, put together by universities, hospitals, and other private and public sector organizations: the Main Street Markham offshoot is presented by York University.

“We are the only location in York Region, so the businesses are very proud and happy to partner with York University,” said Christine Matthews, marketing manager and community liaison for the Markham Village Business Improvement Area, which hosts the market. “It’s a fantastic collaboration and we’re able to do exciting things through it.”

Activities in this year’s exhibits include making a DNA necklace, playing with the laws of physics by walking on water, travelling an electrode computer maze, and even some components that connect with some of the farm fresh produce sold through the farmers’ market, which opens the same day at 8 am.

“It’s neat,” said Matthews. “There’s some interplay between food, the farmers’ market, and how it relates to science. So it’s lots of fun.”

The exhibits have been crafted with the guidance of York University’s science faculty, spearheaded by Margaret Hough, PhD, the director of research and international relations for the faculty, which is helping fund the program, alongside York’s faculty of health and the Markham Village BIA.

Other representatives of the program continue to volunteer their time year after year, Matthews said, encouraged by the positive response the event gets from the families it brings out.

“They love doing it,” Matthews said. “They love seeing the excitement in the kids (and their) families. Parents come up and ask about it to make sure they don’t miss it every year, and the kids really enjoy coming to it.”

Part of the appeal, organizers note, is that all of the activities are hands-on and tactile, unlike the typical science class experience which leans on observation rather than participation.

And for parents, filling the fridge while listening to musical entertainment is also on tap. The timing works out particularly well.

“It’s the day before Mother’s Day,” said Matthews. “Come out, bring your mom and have a good time…It’s an all-in-one event, and a kickoff to spring.”

The farmers’ market starts at 8 am every Saturday until October, with musical performances slated for every week.