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Farmers Market Missing In Action; This Week's Final Schedule In Danger?
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Where, oh where has the Riverbank Farmers Market gone? Potential patrons who arrived at the market site at Community Center Park in downtown were disappointed to find little sign of neither Concerts in the Park, Family Night Out nor the Riverbank Certified Farmers Market last Friday. Neither did they find farmer nor other vendors' booths selling products. Conflicts with the Stanislaus County Fair in Turlock may have been among the distractions luring potential patrons elsewhere. RIC MCGINNIS/THE NEWS

The regularly scheduled Riverbank Farmers Market was MIA last week, with merely one custom car and its owners present through the evening last Friday. The Riverbank Chamber of Commerce, sponsors of the event, hope to continue it through July.

Those who arrived at the Community Center Park on Santa Fe Street last week were disappointed to see none of the usual accoutrements of the market, fruits and vegetables for sale, nor vendors selling food. There was no bounce house, not Recreation Department activities, no free swim scheduled. And no music group, either.

A Chamber official said a member of the group, expected to play Spanish Salsa music, received an injury resulting in a broken leg, also resulting in a cancellation by the band. Also, she said, other chamber members who have been helping keep things organized might be out of town.

Another possible conflict might have been the final Friday Night Concert at the Stanislaus County Fair in Turlock. And the State Fair continues is multi-week run in Sacramento at the same time.

Only one couple, driving a custom PT Cruiser, came to participate in the Custom and Classic Car Show. They parked, set up in the shade and waited for friends and other hot-rodders to come by, but none did. They said they thought other members of West Coast Customs Car Club might have gotten confused by the mention in last week's report in the Riverbank News that mentioned there would be no free movie last week. When the city schedules a free movie on a Saturday, in Jacob Myers Park, the Friday movie is not shown.

There were only a few potential patrons who arrived, waited briefly, apparently to see what might be happening, then left. One woman, apparently being driven by a daughter, parked in the handicapped spot behind the Community Center. Then they unloaded a walker, traveled around the center, and waited briefly before they loaded up and drove off.

Attendance and participation at the market has suffered this year, since being moved to Friday Night. Since 2003, the market, originally begun by city staff, but taken over by community groups in recent years, was always held on Wednesday night. Several years ago, a Farmers Market was begun in Oakdale on Wednesday Nights, negatively impacting attendance here.

Officials said this week's market would continue as its final week of the schedule, July 28, with Patty Castillo Davis set to return. The Bounce House is expected to return, as is the free movie night, where Angry Birds will be shown.

Also, there will be a wine-tasting in the Community Center. The winner of the Viewers' Choice is expected to be announced at 8 p.m. on Friday.