Attendance at Red Deer’s Saturday market dropped by 20 per cent in its first year at the Memorial Centre.
Organizer Dennis Moffat said fewer people showed up compared to last year, but the people who were there seemed to really enjoy it.
The demolition of the Red Deer Arena forced the market to relocate to a temporary spot for the season.
“We’re down about 20 per cent in attendance which is fine because this is a temporary move,” said Moffat. “A lot of people were saying they liked it here. We’ll have to assess it this winter and see what everybody thinks about it.”
This year’s market received mixed reviews from some of the vendors, but location wasn’t the only factor.
“To be truthful I don’t think it’s as good this year. I think parking and location have been one of the problems. We’re just not getting the same crowd,” said Sandra Gehmlich, of River Rock Fudge. “The economy hasn’t helped either. I think everybody is down and not only at this market, but other markets as well.”
Kurt Bradshaw, of Innisfail Growers, agrees with Gehmlich, but is grateful for the people who did show up.
“Considering the economy, it’s been pretty good. Sales are almost the same as last year and the regulars have continued to show up. The support has been good,” said Bradshaw.
Many of the customers had little to complain about.
“I kind of like it. It’s close to my house,” laughed Heidi Stepanek. “It’s been really nice, I’ve come several times. The vendors are really nice and I just love the food.”
Beth Shaw shared the same feeling.
“I love it because I’m in walking distance,” said Shaw. “I think it’s certainly a great alternative until they get the other location back.”
Sheila Wright enjoyed the market, but had a hard with the parking lot being too far away from the vendors.
“It’s not as handy and harder to get in. It’s a little more difficult especially if you’re not physically fit. People have more trouble getting in and out,” said Wright.
Moffat admits there were some challenges this year, but at the same time is really happy with how things went overall.
“It’s their (the community) market and they support it very well. This is our 46th year and the support we get every year has been wonderful,” said Moffat.
The Red Deer Arena is expected to be completed sometime in 2018 and Moffat hopes to bring the market back to that location.