The Wednesday Downtown Market, which starts today, will be running with some new additions this year, including the Learning Stage and Community Corner.
“We wanted to do something different with the Market. We wanted people to stay a little bit longer and add another element that showed them how they could use some of the natural, organic things they bought,” said Executive Director of the Downtown Business Association Amanda Gould.
The Learning Stage will be used to teach consumers things such as how to can or preserve goods, tips for baking and will also allow local clubs to share information of their group.
“It just adds another element of education and entertainment to the event.”
Red Deer’s Downtown Market is an edibles-oriented, accredited farmers’ market that requires each vendor to have made, baked or grown at least 80% of items for sale in their booths.
The ‘make it, bake it, grow it’ philosophy guides the vendors to maintain accreditation as a farmers’ market. Sellers can have small portions of their products that are other types of wares, but the majority have been handmade, baked in house or locally grown.
New this year is also the Community Corner aspect of the Market.
“What we were finding is that we were getting an awful lot of interest from not-for-profit groups who saw that there was an increased footwork downtown on Wednesday nights, and they wanted to take advantage of this to promote their groups, or special events or raise funds,” said Gould.
She said from the ‘make it, bake it, grow it’ protocol, the Community Corner was born in order to accommodate the requests of not-for-profit agencies, without losing accreditation.
Gould said that the Downtown Business Association wants to show its support for not-for-profit groups in the area, as they are one and understand the need for community exposure.
“It just adds another element to the market. It says yes, we are a farmers’ market, yes you can come down and get your food, but there’s something else as well that connects us back to the community,” she said.
Gould adds that the market is, “Bigger and better than ever” as the number of vendors has nearly doubled since last year. She says hopefully, this year’s attendance will have a, “Massive increase in numbers”.
The Market runs Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Little Gaetz Avenue (50th Ave.) in the 4900 block.