Record crowd of 4,800 attend opening day of Des Moines Farmers Market!
From our sister site The Waterland Blog:
The buzz around town all week was “is it really opening day for the market, we’ve been waiting all winter!”
And oh what a day it was – the Sun God blessed us and the Opening Day of the Des Moines Waterfront Farmers Market saw a record 4,800 shoppers and the biggest sales day in its 7-year history.
“This really is a remarkable day for our little burg,” said Rikki Marhol, market manager. “Many vendors told me this was their best day ever and most ran out of product. Our capacity this year is 70 booths and every one was full, and a waiting list to get in.”
Opening ceremonies started with a special framed presentation to local artist Jenny Elliott, who creates the artwork for the market’s posters. Her rendition of last year’s poster was featured on the cover of the national Farmers Market Day Magazine earlier this year. The market commissioned vendor Fred Madrid of Madrid Frame to custom build a frame around this cover. Des Moines Mayor Dave Kaplan thanked all the market board members and the tireless volunteers who make this event the place to be every Saturday. The National Anthem was then sung by Paul Hall of the Saltwater Saints. Also on display were the antique fire engine and a contingency of South King Fire & Rescue members. Rounding out the special displays were a few classic cars from the Knights Car Club that will be at the upcoming Des Moines Classic Car and Wooden Boat Show on July 20th.
Wayne Corey, market board president, commented to The Waterland Blog:
“This is truly amazing. I’ve never seen anything like this. The large crowd started at 10am and kept coming up to the 2pm closing. Our shuttle tram never stopped running, as both North and South parking lots were full and people were parking downtown and walking down to the marina.”
Wayne also said it was great to see the new sculptures (see photos) installed at the marina and around town. The Des Moines Arts Commission put together this outstanding endeavor and the dedication ceremony of the two pieces at the South Compass Rose. Wayne shouted out a special thanks to the marina staff for all their hard work and help with the two events going on at the same time. The day would not have been so successful without their dedication.
Rikki stated “as the season progresses you will see more farmers at the market when fresh farm fruits and vegetables are harvested, usually starting around the 3rd week in June. You can also expect to see different prepared food vendors rotating throughout the season with a wide variety of cuisine.”
Next week the market will be back every Saturday from 10am to 2pm thru October. Beginning June 15th the Des Moines Area Food Bank will be serving free lunch at the market for all school ages children. There will also be a free lunch program for qualified seniors. Don’t forget for the next two Saturdays to bring your used musical instruments for the Highline Music4Life program. For those of you still smarting over losing the Chili Cook-Off last year, gear up, because this year’s application will become available July 1st on the market’s website and at the Information Booth.
Here are some photos from opening day, courtesy Carmen Scott: