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Farmers Market Eyes Move To New Night
Market sing
Guitarist and harmonica player Paul Espinosa, who also performs with Celtic group Golden Bough, plays some classic pop/rock tunes at last years Farmers Market. Those performances are planned to continue, but on a new night, according to Chamber of Commerce officials who have managed the event for the past several years. News File Photo

A simple request before the Riverbank City Council at its last meeting has revealed some changes planned in the operation of the city’s Farmers Market.

Since it first began, in 2003, the market has been held on Wednesday evenings. It was the brainchild of then-City Clerk Linda Abid-Cummings and was sponsored by the city.

A request by the Riverbank Chamber of Commerce, which now manages the market, for a waiver of fees for Community Center Park where it is held now brought to light plans to change the night the market is held to Fridays. The chamber also plans to open it only in June and July this year.

When asked about the changes, Market Manager Garnette Martin indicated the hours would change a little bit, too, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on market days. She said they will still be presenting local entertainers, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and they’ll still be presenting free movies afterwards.

Martin said the chamber was working with the city to continue having some free swim nights during the market, but it would depend on when the Barracudas’ swim meets are scheduled. She also added that she expects to continue the car show on several of the evenings. And she’s planning on continuing the popular Youth Safety Fair and the Senior Voucher night.

In 2003, the Farmers Market began as a relatively small affair, held in the middle of Santa Fe Street, right in front of the Historical Museum. From there, it moved down to Community Center Park, where it remained for several years. Then it was moved to the Plaza del Rio Park when that was brand new, but the lack of mature trees for shade made attendance dwindle. There was a similar problem with shade for 2012 and 13, when it was held in the parking lot between the Galaxy Theatres and Cool Hand Luke’s restaurant.

The market at that time was managed by then-City Council Member Dotty Nygard.

It was moved back to Community Center Park in 2014, where it remains, under the sponsorship of the Riverbank Chamber of Commerce.

The council approved the waiver of fees, reimbursing the Recreation Department’s Enterprise Fund with $374 from its General Fund.

Formal announcement of the Summer 2017 market festivities are expected at a later date.