Great Falls Farmers’ Market expanding again this year; launches new website and logo
The Great Falls Original Farmers’ Market is expanding into Central Avenue this year and has launched a new website and logo.
Starting in June, the market will expand into Central Avenue from the Civic Center to 2nd Street South.
The additional space will accommodate the excess vendor requests the market receives in June and July, according to Erin Borland, chairman of the market’s board of directors.
“We’re very excited about this,” Borland said during last week’s Downtown Development Partnership meeting.
The market is also rebranding for the firs time since 1982. The new website will now accept digital vendor applications and have an updated list of events and activities.
Borland said they’re also hiring a fourth employee for the expanded market this season.
The changes have been brewing for a while and come after the successful 2018 season when the market hosted its first holiday tradeshow at the Mansfield Convention Center and is now planning the “Spring Fever Craft Show” in the same location on April 13.
As of last week, the April show was about half full for vendors, Borland said.
“We wanted to try a holiday show as a service to our vendors,” Borland said in a release. “Not only did we see a record in new vendor attendance, the community showed up in droves to support our artists.”
During the Downtown Development Partnership meeting in January, Borland said the holiday show was “a huge hit” and they’re planning to make it an annual event.
To learn more about participating in the market, the public is invited to attend the annual spring forum meeting at 5:15 p.m. on March 22 in Heritage Hall at Great Falls College MSU.
The market was established in 1982 as nonprofit with the mission “growing commerce through community.”
But the market’s origins go back further to the 1970s when Hutterite colonies sold their produce door-to-door and in the late 1970s, colonies and local farmers began setting up by the Civic Center.
The market started in Margaret Park on the north side of the Civic Center and soon expanded into Whittier Park on the south side of the building. In 1993, there were about 35 to 40 vendors and by 2000, the market had grown to 110 vendors.
Now, the market has 135-160 vendors each summer.