Victoria Day long weekend always signals the first day of the Red Deer Public Market.
This weekend was no different, as the market opened its 2022 season in the parking lot in front of Servus Arena Saturday.
Vendors expressed their excitement for the market’s return.
“Every year we come back and love the place,” said Norm Salomons, owner of S4 Greenhouses in Lacombe.
Salomons said the business has been coming to the Red Deer Public Market for about 20 years.
“We love seeing all of our regular customers,” he said.
“It’s a great Saturday morning experience. The nicest part of it is I get to see people who I haven’t seen in a long time. … You get to know your customers and they get to know us.”
Cassidy Chorney, 365 Curb Appeal sales representative for Central Alberta, said the market is a great business opportunity for vendors.
“If you have more foot traffic, the more people you’re going to reach out to. I’m excited for this year. I hope we get some sales in, that everybody does well, and people come and support local,” said Chorney.
Saturday was a bright and sunny day. The weather will impact the foot traffic at a farmers market, said Chorney.
“Yesterday I was at the Sylvan market and it was quite windy, so there weren’t as many people,” Chorney explained.
“For May long weekend, (the turnout) has been pretty good. The weather’s nice and I’ve definitely seen a lot more foot traffic in Red Deer. I’m hoping as the markets go on they’ll get busier.”
This is the first year Chorney is experiencing the market, as she only recently began working at the artificial plant supplier.
Sandra Gehmlich, River Rock Fudge owner, operates her business in Okotoks but has been coming to the Red Deer Public Market for more than 10 years.
“My daughter starting coming out here and it helped put her through school. I have just sort of taken over. It’s something to do,” said Gehmlich.
“This is a good market. I’ve enjoyed it and I love the people here.”
Patrick Moffat, who co-manages the market with his sister Fiona, said Saturday was a great start to the season.
“We had a lot of new vendors today and people who have never been there before. It’s exciting to see people come back,” Moffat said, adding there were 107 vendors on the market’s opening day, which was similar to last year’s average.
“We’re hoping we get back to the 2019 numbers, which was one of our better years – just before COVID hit. Things fell to about 50 per cent, but it was like that all over the province.”
The market runs from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. every Saturday until Thanksgiving long weekend.