Red Deer Market owner and manager Dennis Moffat on the last day of the 2016 Red Deer Market. (File photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)

Red Deer Market owner and manager Dennis Moffat on the last day of the 2016 Red Deer Market. (File photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)

Red Deer’s biggest market gearing up for new season

Popular gathering place enters its 47th year, second at new location

The Market at Red Deer enters its 47th year beginning on the May long weekend with vendors and shoppers having made the adjustment to last year’s new location at the Memorial Centre.

Dennis Moffat, manager of the market, said Tuesday that he expects things to go a lot smoother this year when the market opens on May 20 as people now know how things work.

“We know a lot more of what we’re doing.”

The shoppers had to learn how the access and parking worked last year, he said. They will need people to stop sneaking around and parking behind the high school and so he will have more barricades up, he said.

After decades at the Downtown Arena location, the public market had to move because the arena was being torn down and construction of a new one is underway. It will be ready in time for the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer.

People will be more accustomed to the new location this year, which is smaller and therefore has fewer vendors, Moffat said.

“It’s not possible to put in as many vendors as we used to squeeze in down at the arena, but it works.”

Moffat has been busy this week leaving information door to door at homes in the Waskasoo neighbourhood where the market is located, “Just to let them know that we’re coming back, here’s the way it works and hope we don’t interrupt your lifestyle.”

There were no complaints from the neighbourhood in their first year, he said.

This year there will be a lot more kinds of food, especially at breakfast time, he said, adding there are people who are wanting to become market vendors, perhaps because of the slower economy.

Red Deer has three other weekly markets.

The Perky Peddlar Market is the newest and will open on Mondays, debuting May 8, in the parking lot at the former Safeway at Parkland Mall. It will move into the mall later in the season, and operate for most of the year.

The Garden City Market runs all year long at Pioneer’s Lodge on Thursdays.

The ATB Financial Downtown Market, which runs on Wednesdays, is a farmers market, and will reopen May 31 on Little Gaetz Avenue downtown. It runs during the summer months, similar to The Market At Red Deer.

Moffat said he is looking forward to the new season, and isn’t planning to retire for a bit. “My goal is 50 years.”

He doesn’t know if they will end up back at the familiar arena location next year. “I watch that arena construction like a hawk.”