With a new venue, market hopes to grow

Organizers of the Kent Farmers Market expect a big jump in the number of vendors over the next few years, due to the market’s move to Kent’s new Town Square Plaza Park.

Amy Derheim with her sons Austin

Farmers market opens June 7

Organizers of the Kent Farmers Market expect a big jump in the number of vendors over the next few years, due to the market’s move to Kent’s new Town Square Plaza Park.

After three consecutive years in different locations, the Kent Farmers Market will have a permanent site at the park. Sponsored by the Kent Lions Club, the market opens June 7 and will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Saturday through Sept. 27. Town Square is located on Second Avenue North between West Smith Street and West Harrison Street.

“Once we’re up and running, it’ll work out great,” said Bill Westcott, spokesman for the market. “Generally, everyone is pretty excited because we’ve moved around the last three years. Everyone is happy we’re going to have a permanent site.”

Nearly 40 vendors have signed up so far to participate at the market. About 25 to 30 vendors are expected for the first Saturday.

“For the opening date, that’s great,” Westcott said.

Westcott expects it will take at least two years for the market to become fully established and start to grow to as many as 100 vendors. That’s the number who regularly set up booths at the market four years ago.

The moves by the market to different locales in recent years culled the number of participating vendors down.

“We didn’t even know where we would be the last couple of years,” Westcott said. “We didn’t have the permits until a week prior.”

Second Avenue North will be closed to vehicles from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Saturday between West Smith Street and West Harrison Street to allow the market to expand beyond the park toward the Kent Regional Library.

“It’s a really decent location between Kent Station and historic downtown Kent,” Westcott said. “It will be a nice cross flow of traffic.”

Last year, the market set up on a grassy area on Ramsay Way near West Smith Street. In 2006, the market used Second Avenue North for a site, after moving from the parking lot at Fourth Avenue North and West Smith Street that is now occupied by the unfinished parking garage.

Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke will be part of a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the market on June 7.

Vendors will sell fruits, vegetables, flowers, food and arts and crafts. The types of produce available changes every couple of weeks depending on which crops are ready to sell. Strawberries, cherries, corn, onions, peppers, apples and melons are among the items that will be sold during the summer.

Kent Farmers Market has formed a volunteer group to help attract vendors to the market and to line up musical entertainment for certain Saturdays, Westcott said. The market accepts applications from vendors throughout the summer.

City officials have had to scramble to get Town Square Plaza Park completed in time for the farmers market this summer. Although all of the concrete has been poured to handle the farmers market, Puget Sound Energy still needs to install a transformer in the small building at the park to power most of the fountains. The building will house a rest room as well as the mechanical room used to power the spray fountains at the park.

City officials plan a dedication of the park on June 28. The plaza will feature a fountain with a floating green, granite sphere about 5 feet in diameter donated by the Kent Rotary Club and the Kent Sunrise Rotary Club.

“Hopefully, everything will be working by June 28,” Westcott said.

Contact Steve Hunter at 253-872-6600, ext. 5052 or shunter@reporternewspapers.com.

Kent Farmers Market

When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, June 7 to Sept. 27.

Where: Town Square Plaza Park, corner of Second Avenue and West Smith Street.

Details: www.kentfarmersmarket.com.

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