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Sundridge welcomes Friday night farmers' market

'This can draw visitors and locals'
20150606 sundridge sign turl

Sundridge will soon begin hosting a farmer's market Friday evenings on the Lions' Club grounds, which is also home to a children's park.

Tiffany Palmer, who operates the newly opened Smokin' Blond BBQ Shack at Copperhead Distillery, proposed the idea to council.

Mayor Lyle Hall especially liked the plan to hold the farmers' market Fridays because “we don't have much else going on Friday nights.”

Palmer recently moved to Sundridge from the Collingwood area, where she also held a farmers' market.

Palmer told council that farmers' market was also held Friday nights so it wouldn't conflict with Collingwood's farmers' market Saturdays.

Fridays worked because the Clearview event coincided with cottage owners arriving in the area for the weekend. They would include the farmers' market as one of their stops upon arrival.

Palmer reasoned the same should hold true with cottagers arriving in Almaguin Fridays or up for the summer.

Palmer already has commitments from about a dozen vendors “who are showing great interest” and has plans to reach out to about 20 more people.

Some of the vendors will sell artwork, honey or soap, and there are area farmers with a variety of produce.

The Lions' Club grounds include a gazebo and Palmer says that's where bands can provide live music for one to two hours.

“This can draw visitors and locals,” Palmer said.

“It can also help promote the community and local businesses, like myself on Main Street, by bringing people to the area. We've had two years of COVID shutting down things and people want to do things and just be a community again.”

Coun. Fraser Williamson called the proposal “an excellent opportunity,” while Coun. Barbara Belrose said Palmer “knows what she's doing.”

Deputy Mayor Shawn Jackson said the “waterfront is the perfect spot.”

If there is one concern it's the proximity of the farmer's market to the wharf, which Hall says wasn't designed to accommodate a farmers' market.

“But I'm pretty confident something can be worked out,” he added.

Palmer said the goal is to have the vendors set up in the parking area which is owned by the municipality and the market would operate from 5 to 9 p.m.

Palmer said in Clearview the farmers' market worked with the local Lions' Club and each Friday the club would hold a barbeque with proceeds going to one of the many groups the Clearview Lions support.

Palmer is planning to talk to the Sundridge Lions about also holding a barbeque on the site Friday evenings so the club can raise money for its charities.

Palmer said in Clearview the municipality rented pop-up tents displaying the municipal logo to vendors and said Sundridge may want to consider doing the same thing for vendors who don't have their own tents.

“For Clearview it was a nice brand awareness program,” Palmer said.

Jackson said tents with the Sundridge logo is something the municipality should consider as a future purchase and added the farmers' market is “exactly what the town needs right now.”

Hall said everything Palmer proposed sounded “very positive” and it's also something the municipality has tried to pull off in the past but with limited success.

“I'm prepared to make it successful,” Palmer said.

Hall said COVID has left a lot of people “fatigued and they need something.”

“They've been clustered for so long and this is a chance to enjoy the waterfront,” Hall said.

Palmer says vendors would be charged $25 a visit.

The goal is to get the farmers' market running by this month. It will run until Oct. 7 as people head into the Thanksgiving weekend.

Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.