Red Deer’s Patti Resta checks out the offerings from Wolf’s Botanical Greenhouses and Nurseries at Red Deer’s Public Market which opened for the season on Saturday.

Red Deer’s Patti Resta checks out the offerings from Wolf’s Botanical Greenhouses and Nurseries at Red Deer’s Public Market which opened for the season on Saturday.

New Red Deer market look praised

Closing down the street in front of the public market got almost as good reviews as the weather.

Closing down the street in front of the public market got almost as good reviews as the weather.

Most of those interviewed under sunny skies on Saturday morning approved of the move to close 43rd Street and post a row of vendors along the route, although there were a few qualms voiced about losing so much parking.

Patti Resta, of Red Deer, is a regular market visitor and likes the road closure.

“I think it’s a wonderful thing,” said Resta. Often she visits the market with her grandchildren and not having to dodge traffic will be an improvement for families, and the many seniors who live in the area.

“I think it just makes easier access.”

Ingrid Hainzmann, owner of Lacombe’s Wolf’s Botanical Greenhouses and Nurseries, likes the extra open areas.

“Vendors are on side and you have all this free space,” said Hainzmann, who has been setting up shop at the market for 30 years. Hainzmann also said the market made the right move by returning the closing time to 12:30 p.m. A 2 p.m. finish was experimented with last year, but it didn’t add much business, she said.

Colleen Burwell, of Lacombe, also gave the new look market a thumbs up.

It’s pretty good. It’s not as crowded then,” said Colleen, who was joined by her 20-year-old daughter Skyla. Crossing the street had always had its risks.

“It’s crazy. Drivers don’t always watch for little kids. They’re more interested in a parking spot.”

Diane Diewold, who is from Regina and was visiting her sister, at first questioned the loss of parking, but felt it was worth it to improve safety.

Dennis Moffat, who has been the genial face of the public market for 43 years, was in his usual good spirits on Saturday.

“We lucked out on the weather,” said Moffat. “And the new order, by having 43rd Street closed to traffic is going to benefit everybody. It’s worked out well.”

There were 190 stalls hawking their wares on Saturday and lineups were lengthy for some of the popular draws, like sausage on a bun and crepes.

Moffat’s son Patrick is the second generation to get involved in running the market. Red Deer’s success has led him to open a market next month in Edmonton outside the Century Plaza in that city’s south end.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com