Better put a big X through Saturday morning on your calendar to reserve the time.
That’s because if you don’t find time for the opening day of the Penticton Farmers’ Market and the Downtown Penticton Community Market, you are going to be missing out on the biggest launch day yet.
For the Farmers’ Market, it’s the opening to their 23rd season, with up to 60 new and returning vendors, entertainment and, of course, fruits, vegetables, flowers, honey, eggs, baking, preserves and crafts all produced in the South Okanagan/Similkameen.
Almost all the stalls are booked already, according to Stephanie Sundquist, Penticton Farmers’ Market manager.
“We’ve upped our allotment a little this year, so there are 63 stalls. Not sure we will have 60 on the first day, but we will get there,” she said. “It sounds like we are going to have a ton of veggies, greens and things like that on the first week, which is awesome.”
There are a few changes this year. Erin Trainer is taking over from Sundquist as the new market manager in mid-May.
“I’m really looking forward to working with all the vendors,” says Trainer. “I’ve always supported farmers’ markets. They allow shoppers to interact with the people who grow, make or bake what’s on sale. That connection is so important for promoting and protecting our local food system.”
The market’s hours will also be extended to allow for one hour of extra shopping. It will now be open from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday until Oct. 26.
And it’s an expansion year for the five-year-old Community Market, which is spreading out along Front Street for the first time this season.
It’s looking really good, we are starting bigger than ever,” said Kerri Milton, executive director for the Downtown Penticton Association.
Along with Front Street, the Community Market will be filling the 200 and 300 blocks of Main.
“That’s how we are starting and then we will expand into the 400 and 500 blocks as well,” she said.
When the Artisan’s Market, “Art under the Trees”, opens in June, that will make about seven blocks worth of markets for Pentictonites and tourists to explore this summer.
Both markets have entertainment planned to make opening day extra special. Tying in with the May Day celebrations in Gyro Park, the Farmers’ Market has invited Penticton’s Fire Department, who will be bringing their ladder truck right into the market and conducting demonstrations.
The Community Market has chalk artists working on the streets, race cars on display from the Penticton Speedway, and what Milton refers to as a Makers’ Market.
“Makers markets are the new big thing that started in California,” said Milton.
The idea, she explained, is that they can take electronic waste and use it to fashion robots and many different kinds of things.
The Community Market teamed up with The Penticton and Area Cooperative Enterprises to handle setting up the road barricades this year. PACE will also be collecting electronic waste for their e-recycling program at the market.
“They have bins so people can bring down all their stuff and PACE will take care of it all,” said Milton. “You can bring down whatever you want and a big truck will take it away.”
Besides the market, Milton said, they will also have the SOS Safety Festival on the 300 block of Main, with representation from the RCMP, Search and Rescue and a range of organizations and not-for-profit groups.