“We’ve had a great year for weather, which was a big plus,” says Dennis Moffat of the Red Deer Public Market’s sason. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

Red Deer public market wraps up 50th season

2020 season marked final year for founder Dennis Moffat

Fifty years ago, Dennis Moffat decided to bring a farmers’ market to Red Deer.

“I just had a dream. I knew if we had a market … it would bring some (economic support) to Red Deerians and visitors. It worked,” Moffat said on Saturday in the Servus Arena parking lot, during the final market of the season.

“Over the 50 years, it’s been just like having another family. I’ve seen some people come, and now their grandchildren are here too.

“This all started with 12 vendors and we’ve had as many as 220 vendors.”

This is the last year Moffat will run the market. His children, Fiona and Patrick, will run the market next year.

It was an odd season for the market due to COVID-19, said Moffat.

“This year, we averaged about 90 vendors because of the virus. But all of these people contribute and they’re happy.

“We’ve had a great year for weather, which was a big plus. We only had one day where it rained at 11 o’clock in the morning, and outside of that, it’s been clear sailing,” he said.

Moffat said he wasn’t optimistic the market was going to happen this year, during the early stages of the pandemic.

“But the health department and the city said we could open just two days before the start of the season, so we were really busy getting ready,” he said.

“Fortunately, we’ve managed this year. It’s about half the size of the usual market, but at least we had a market this year and the tradition continued.”

Moffat said he’s proud his children will run the market from now on.

“I’m so proud of my kids – they work their hearts out. They drive down from Edmonton on Friday. They get to the market at three in the morning (on Saturday), and then I don’t have to get here until 5:30 now, which is good. I’ve been spoiled with good children,” he said.

“I’m just going to have to do the paperwork from now on. I’m not going to have to get up early in the morning. It’s going to be very nice.”

The market runs from May long weekend to Thanksgiving long weekend each year.



sean.mcintosh@reddeeradvocate.com

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