For the last 50 years, Exhibition Park has held the Lethbridge Farmers’ Market in its pavilions for the community to explore local vendors, artisans, and more.
In 2020, a delayed start to the event due to COVID-19 meant it didn’t look quite the same as usual — but it was just as successful.
“We were exceptionally surprised by the support we got from the community,” chief operating officer Mike Warkentin said of last year’s markets.
“(There) were record numbers for people that came through (the) door for the two farmers’ markets.”
Now, planning is underway for the 2021 season, with Exhibition Park officially announcing dates and times on Tuesday.
Starting on May 8, the indoor market will run on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Exhibition Park’s North Pavilion, ending on Oct. 9.
The Lethbridge Downtown Farmers’ Market, operated in conjunction with Downtown Lethbridge BRZ, will begin once summer temperatures are in full swing.
It will run between 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from July 7 to Sept. 15.
Usually, the downtown event would take place in Festival Square on 6 Street S, but moved in 2020 to 2 Avenue and 5 Street, just west of Galt Gardens.
Due to continued upgrades to Festival Square, it will occupy the alternate location once again.
“We just figured, to keep it simple, even if Festival Square does open at some point in 2021, the farmers’ market will remain on second and fifth,” said Tulene Steiestol, executive director of the BRZ.
Brian Quinn, owner of Java the Hut on 2 Avenue, says the markets was helping in attracting more business to their area.
“It was great to see the increased numbers of foot traffic on this street, we seem to be sort of a forgotten avenue, to some extent,” he said.
“It definitely helped because we were sort of in the beginning stages of COVID, right? So, it definitely brought people down here,” said Jasmine Griffiths, the owner of Urban Prairie Antiques, also on 2 Avenue.
“It’s good news for us to have it (here) again.”
Warkentin says Exhibition Park is still in the process of finalizing the details of its COVID-19 protocols, and is working with health officials to ensure they adhere to up-to-date provincial regulations as the pandemic situation evolves.
“Consumers can anticipate very similar protocols to what they were last year,” Warkentin explained. “We will have strict capacity controls on the market, as well as social distancing and sanitization protocols.”
More specifics on protocol and vendors will be made available closer to opening day.