When Candice Kolson took over the Airdrie Farmers Market back in June of 2009, the event was literally on its last legs – with a few dedicated vendors and the volunteers who ran the Market ready to close it down.
“Airdrie has had some form of ‘market’ on and off since the ‘70s. In 2009,I took it over and changed things up with dates and times and it was really embraced by the community,” says Kolson. “It was running weekly on Saturdays prior to 2009, but they struggled for vendors and consistency. When I took over, I moved it to rain or shine, every week on Wednesdays.
“At the time, I owned a baby business called ‘Sassy Babes’. I wanted to be able to sell in my own community rather than traveling to larger markets like Red Deer and Bearspaw on the weekends.”
The biggest change, she says, was moving the Market outside and changing to a weekday to attract some bigger names and vendors that couldn’t make weekends work.
The Market rotates through more than 150 different vendors over the season, from June 7 to October 4. Shoppers will find everything from fresh produce and baking to jewelry and booths for local businesses and non-profit organizations. New this year is Sylvan Cheese and a notable returnee is the popular Pearson’s Berry Farm.
“We also started last year bringing in six food trucks weekly and trying to rotate them so that there is something a bit different every week to choose from.”
Buskers and entertainers are allowed on site at no cost, says Kolson, but must sign-up in advance, and there’s even sometimes free fitness classes for people in the park.
The Airdrie Farmers Market also holds special a indoor Christmas Market the first weekend of November and December each year plus an Easter Market in the spring.
As for this year’s Market, it promises to be bigger and better than ever.
“We look forward to seeing all of our customers from previous years, and we are always blown away by how many new faces come through every week as well. It really is a great little market for our community and the small businesses that come near and far to show our city what they have to offer.”
For up-to-date information, visit airdriefarmersmarket.com or facebook.com/airdriefarmersmarket