THE MARKET'S BACK!
Downtown event returns May 1
An opening date of Saturday, May 1 has been set for the popular Downtown Windsor Farmers Market.
The Windsor-essex County Health Unit has given thumbs up to planned COVID-19 safety protocols that will be in place, said Brian Yeomans, chairman of the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association which operates the weekly event. This year, it is supposed to run every Saturday until December, weather permitting.
“When we opened last year (during the early days of the pandemic) it was still in a period of uncertainty,” he said. “We closely followed the health unit's guidelines and we ended up with a record turnout.
“It was a huge success last year because of how everything was handled. Since we so closely followed the health unit's requests, they gave us the go-ahead again this year.”
The downtown market has been deemed an essential service allowing it to proceed this year — initially with about 30 to 35 produce-only vendors, Yeomans said.
He is hopeful that as the summer proceeds and more people are vaccinated that pandemic-related restrictions may start to ease and hopefully the market — located on Pelissier Street between Wyandotte and Park streets — can increase to up to 60 vendors.
Among the safety measures will be one-way traffic flow in and out of the market, hand-wash stations, a mandatory mask requirement, sanitizers at all entrances and no patio services. Any interactive features (Kids Corner, Chef's Table) are to be online only.
“The rain-or-shine event is forecasted to not only be a welcome gateway to the spring and summer season, but it also serves as a sign of hope and recovery,” said the market's manager Steve Green. “This means that vendors and entrepreneurs will have a space to work, while visitors and residents will again have access to locally grown, farm fresh products.”
Based on last year's success, Yeomans expects there were “record requests” from vendors wanting to set up at the downtown market.
“Last year, with so many events cancelled I think (attending the market) gave people a sense of normal life,” he said. “We did our part to keep people safe, so a lot of people enjoy the opportunity to get out and get their goods.”
The market will be open Saturdays between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.
“You know how people have their favourite mug because it's something familiar,” Yeoman said. “I think with the farmers market people want to get out and need that familiarity.”
For more information about the downtown farmers market, visit online at dwfm.ca or follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.