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Berlin extends farmers market to October

Berlin’s farmers market will continue through October this year through a pilot program created to determine if demand is high enough to continue the extension in future years.

Berlin Farmers Market-May

Berlin Farmers Market attendees are pictured perusing vendor tents and stands on one of the opening weekends this year.
File photo

By Tara Fischer, Staff Writer

Berlin’s farmers market will continue through October this year in a pilot program to determine if the demand is high enough for future years.

“The farmers have extended their seasons,” Economic and Community Development Director Ivy Wells said. “They have greenhouses and are doing various things to extend their season, so I would like to extend the market through October.”

Berlin Councilman Jay Knerr broached the topic at a meeting last month of adding a month to the farmers market season. The idea was supported by a majority of the council.

Wells maintained the extra month would cost the town about $2,000, including staffing. Berlin will have to fund an extra month of live music, as the grant received for the tunes only goes through September, the petting farm and continued advertising.

The community development director said that as the vendors pay a fee through September, they will not be charged for October.

Previous discussions had included a request by Council Vice President Dean Burrell to extend the market an extra hour. However, Wells said the vendors typically run out of crops around noon.

“They are looking to get out of there and the heat is too much for them,” she said.

The event will continue to run each Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

While Wells is hopeful that the farmers market will bring in summer-like crowds in October and is excited to try it out, she has hesitations. She said that extending the event into September took time, and historically, attendance tends to wane as it cools off.

“We are a resort town, so you need that additional capacity,” she said. “… Now that we are extending it through October, while everyone wants it, I am not sure that the same amount of people will come. I hope that I am incorrect. I love the farmers market; everyone loves it, they look forward to it; it is the week’s highlight. I would love to extend it to see if this year is different and more people will come. I certainly hope so. The farmers have additional crops; the vendors want to be there. Everyone wants the farmers market to continue. Let’s see who shows up … You always have to remember the law of economics, the rule of scarcity.”

Berlin Mayor Zack Tyndall agreed to “pilot” an extended farmer’s market, see how it does and factor that into their grant application next year. The rest of the council also expressed excitement for the event’s fall era.

“I am looking forward to it,” Councilmember Shaneka Nichols said. “I hope the farmers bring their autumn wear and we’ll spice it up for fall. Bring out the gourds and the pumpkins. I think having those extra four weeks will be a great addition.”

This story appears in the July 11, 2024, print edition of the Bayside Gazette.