Lacombians will have a new scene to check out Wednesday evenings this summer.
Each Wednesday in July and August from 4:30 – 8:30 p.m. outside the Lacombe Memorial Centre, the City will be hosting a Lacombe Community Market. These markets will coincide with Music in the Park.
The first Lacombe Community Market was held July 2nd. Soon afterwards, some informal polls were conducted to garner some feedback about how attendees felt towards the event.
Organizer Wendy Buyar said the reaction was one of excitement.
“The feedback was amazing,” she said. “Everyone was really happy.”
There are a few different goals behind the Lacombe Community Market, said Buyar. One of them is simply to provide Lacombians with something new to do in the middle of the week.
She said the market offers an attraction that is inside the City of Lacombe. She added the hope is it will give residents a reason to spend their leisure time in the community rather than traveling outside the area to larger centres.
It also brings attention and traffic to Lacombe’s downtown core. Hopefully, some of Lacombe’s downtown businesses will see some increased business because of the additional traffic. Buyar said one or two downtown businesses have already expressed interest in getting involved with the market and helping those spinoffs along. She added she would love to see businesses having sidewalk sales or other special events and promotions during the markets as a way to join in.
Some may see the new Lacombe Community Market as being in competition with Lacombe’s farmers’ market. But, Buyar doesn’t see it that way. She said the idea of the Lacombe Community Market is to appeal to a different demographic and perhaps give both shoppers and vendors who are not available during farmers’ markets a place to exchange.
Not only does the Community Market draw a different crowd, it provides a venue for different vendors. Because the farmers’ market adheres to certain rules, such as that at least 80% of its vendors must sell wares produced locally, there are some businesses that can’t be part of the market. Buyar said that because the Lacombe Community Market does not adhere to the same rules, it is able to include different kinds of vendors. It also provides a venue for vendors who can’t be part of Lacombe’s farmers’ market simply because of the time it runs. So far, Buyar said the approach appears to be working. She said she was a little surprised at the difference in who attended the two markets.
“I was very surprised how very different the group was, in comparison to what you see at our Friday farmers’ market.” She added that, in any case, the Farmers’ Market is an invaluable asset that she wants to see remaining in the community.
Lacombe’s first Community Market was somewhat small in terms of vendor numbers, but Buyar said that many vendors had forgotten the market was immediately after Canada Day and had to cancel. Still, she expressed her confidence that the market will grow.
“That was disappointing, however I have complete faith in how our City responds to stuff,” said Buyar. She went on to say that those vendors who were at the first market did make profits, which is all it takes for markets to be successful and grow.
“It will grow, there is no doubt in my mind that every week it’s going to get bigger.”
Buyar said that she wants the Lacombe Community Market to have a festival feel to it. Not only will it provide shopping opportunities, but it also will provide fun and entertainment.
Holding the market in conjunction with the summer’s Music in the Park concerts provide entertainment and the bounce house on the grassy areas outside the LMC provide fun activities for the kids as well.