It will be business as usual when the ever-popular Red Deer Market opens for its 45th season on Saturday — but next year it could be homeless.
The market is being forced to change locations in 2016 because the Red Deer Arena is going to be torn down and replaced with a new facility in the lead-up to the 2019 Canada Winter Games. The construction means the market cannot be in its familiar place.
Dennis Moffat, who manages the market that he began in 1970, said on Monday he does not yet know where it will be next year — he’s looking, and admits he is worried about it.
The outdoor market — located in the parking lots outside the Arena and Pidherney Curling Centre — has been downtown at 4751 43rd St. every spring, summer and fall on Saturday since 1987.
Public washrooms for the thousands of people who visit the market are located in the Arena.
Probably Red Deer’s biggest and most popular attraction for both residents and visitors during warm-weather Saturdays, the market attracts vendors who sell everything from food to clothing to handmade furniture.
Over the years, besides the economic benefit, it has become community central for the public. Every Saturday it seems like homecoming day there, especially when the weather is good and local produce and other foods and products are in high season.
Moffat is working on some possible locations for next year but nothing is certain yet. He is hoping to find a location by the time this season is halfway through so he can tell this year’s vendors where it will be.
Moffat said he wants to keep on being involved with the market until it hits its 50th year, and then he hopes his son Patrick will take it over. The two get up every Saturday at 4 a.m. during the season to get things rolling.
The vendors start calling as early as December to get information on the market, Moffat said.
The market usually has from 160 to 180 vendors, Moffat said. He adds all vendors are welcome and he would hate to see the time come when they are vetted and only certain vendors are allowed, as is the case for some markets.
Vendors pay $30 per stall (more if they take up more than one stall space) and the City of Red Deer receives $7.50 per stall, he said.
This year, a street musician from Bolivia will be performing regularly.
The market runs from 8 a.m. until 12:30 every Saturday. This year, the last day will be Oct. 10. Family pets such as dogs are not permitted.
So far, the weather looks perfect for the season opening, with a high of 19C, sunny and with some cloud forecast.
For more information, go to reddeermarket.com.