On Saturday, vendors at the Lethbridge Farmers’ Market set up their booths for the final time this season after operating every week since May, but some are getting the chance to hawk their wares year-round.
Karen Taylor, nicknamed ‘The Jam Lady’, had an emotional last day after more than 35 years selling her product at the market.
“This is the place to come in the summer,” she said. “I really like it (and I’ll) miss it.”
Vendors sell everything from vegetables and fruit, to clothing and jewelry. Karissa Varney, a regular shopper who attends almost every weekend, said it feels good to support local in this way.
“It takes a lot of work to put all this together, and it’s nice that we can come together as a community and show support for one another,” she said.
Despite the market coming to a close, some vendors will have the opportunity to continue selling their goods year-round at the newly-formed YQL Marketplace.
“We had heard through the grapevine many years in a row of market vendors and the general public saying ‘you know, Lethbridge needs a year-round market’,” explained co-owner and operator Helen Manzara.
Manzara, who has several years’ experience as a wine vendor, said YQL Marketplace will host a mixture of full-time, part-time, and casual vendors in the indoor space, located on 3rd avenue south in the former Salvation Army building.
“Every time you come through the door, you will see someone different, but you will also see your good old faithful vendors,” she explained.
YQL Marketplace will be open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday year-round starting Oct. 15. Manzara said it was important for them to have flexible hours to accommodate those who have other obligations.
“Not many markets are open on a Sunday, so we said we would be open on a Sunday,” she explained.
The market doesn’t qualify for the COVID-19 restrictions exemption program through the province, meaning capacity will be restricted to one-third of the building’s fire-code, and proof of vaccination is not required.
According to Manzara, a full list of vendors should be released on Facebook prior to each weekends’ markets.