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Banff Farmers Market gets special weekend approval

For the first time, the Banff Farmers Market will be held on a weekend
20200610 Banff Market 0082
Katlyn Burdenuk of Souto Farms selects a carton of strawberries for a customer at the Banff Farmers Market. The popular market got the green light to operate earlier this year under guidelines established by Alberta Health Services. EVAN BUHLER RMO FILE PHOTO⁠

BANFF – A special Banff Farmers Market has been approved for the weekend of Sept. 12-13, giving small businesses a chance to earn a little extra during tough times.

Held at the parking area beside Central Park, the weekend rendition will run like the regular market, which is normally held on Wednesdays. The weekend market's hours will be announced shortly on the Banff Farmers Market’s Facebook page.

“I’m delighted we get to test this first-weekend market ever in Banff,” said Rene Geber, manager of the Banff Farmers Market.

For almost a decade, Geber has operated the local farmers market and during that time, he periodically pitched the idea of a weekend event to the Town of Banff. However, parking issues from weekend visitors flocking to town was the main factor in it being unable to occur.

The manager hopes the Sept. 12-13 market can set a precedent for the future.

“For me, I’m always trying to do these events when lots of people are around because I want my vendors to make some money. That’s my goal,” he said.

Alonso Ortiz, owner of Bow Valley Empanadas, operates the Peruvian food specialty vendor at the local markets. He says running the small business is his top priority and is grateful for a weekend market.

“Having a market on the weekend is always a big deal, that means extra traffic from people outside of Banff are guaranteed to come by. The Wednesday market is always good but has definitely been affected by the ongoing pandemic,” said Ortiz.

"As a food vendor, numbers have certainly been affected, but I have exceeded my expectations. I am thankful that this isn't my first year and have had a solid 12 months to build a following mostly through locals. Getting an opportunity to have a piece of the weekend pie, however, is crucial for a small business like myself."

Along with food, beverage, cosmetics and crafts vendors, live music is being planned at the outdoor event. COVID-19 protocols at this year’s market remain in place.

Geber also organizes the Banff Mountain Music Festival (formerly Harvest Festival), which was cancelled this year. It’s normally held in September at Central Park, complementing the market with local musicians taking the stage.

With the music fest's cancellation due to COVID-19 circumstances, the Town of Banff approved the weekend market to help out the event organizer and vendors.

"Banff’s market operator has been extremely diligent in following all health protocols and demonstrating the highest standards in safety for vendors and customers," said Banff Mayor Karen Sorensen in a statement.

"But the health measures have limited the number of people allowed into the weekly market, and we certainly understand the impact on the vendors. I am glad we were able to work with AHS and Town departments to provide a final opportunity (Sept 12-13 weekend) for vendors and for Banffites to access some great products."

Geber said the Town has been "very forward-thinking" during this time.

He added he’s still looking for vendors at the Banff Farmers Market and those interested can contact him at [email protected].

Jordan Small

About the Author: Jordan Small

An award-winning reporter, Jordan Small has covered sports, the arts, and news in the Bow Valley since 2014. Originally from Barrie, Ont., Jordan has lived in Alberta since 2013.
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