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Farmers Market Returns To Downtown Riverbank
market dt
A sizable crowd, reminiscent of those who come out for Cheese & Wine, has returned to downtown Riverbank on Tuesday evenings this summer. Downtown businesses worked together to bring back the popular Farmers Market that first started in 2003 but hasn’t been held since 2017. Ric McGinnis/The News

A weekly evening of shopping, tasting and entertainment has returned to downtown Riverbank. The Farmers Market is back, this time on Santa Fe Street, between Third and Fourth streets.

Organizers from downtown businesses banded together to return the event to the neighborhood of its origin.

The first version of the market began in 2003, the idea of then City Clerk Linda Abid-Cummings. It was held on Santa Fe, from the intersection at Third, westward to Fourth Street. The bands that played were located on the grass of the Historical Museum, adjacent to City Hall North.

Over the years, it has moved around a bit. It has been relocated to Community Center Park, further east on Santa Fe, then taken over by a city council member and moved out to the parking lot between the Galaxy Theatres and Cool Hand Luke’s. There was lots of parking for patrons and vendors alike, but an obstacle was the lack of shade. The pavement got pretty hot during the dog days of summer.

After the redevelopment of the downtown area, it was moved in and around the new Plaza del Rio Park, but it still suffered from a lack of shade. The Riverbank Chamber of Commerce took over operation and it was moved back to Community Center Park, with its many mature shade trees.

Officials note that 2017 was the last year the chamber had a hand in running the market, with its main organizer then moving out of town.

By the turnout last Tuesday, May 18 for the first event of the summer, it appears that the community is ready for its return, with crowd sizes resembling the number of people seen on downtown streets during the weekends of the Cheese and Wine Festival each October.