A pair check out a vendor at the opening day of the Sylvan Lake Farmers’ Market last year. The market will open for the summer following COVID-19 guidelines this Friday, May 21. (File Photo)

A pair check out a vendor at the opening day of the Sylvan Lake Farmers’ Market last year. The market will open for the summer following COVID-19 guidelines this Friday, May 21. (File Photo)

Sylvan Lake Farmers’ Market returns to Lakefront Park this Friday

The farmers’ market kicks-off the long week in Sylvan Lake every year

The May long weekend is the official start to summer in Sylvan Lake, and with it comes the Farmers’ Market.

The Sylvan Lake Farmers’ Market is ready to once again take over the parking lot at Lakefront Park every Friday throughout the summer.

Crystal Loewen, manager of the Sylvan Lake Farmers’ Market, says the market will kick off this Friday as planned.

Because farmers’ markets are considered essential services, like grocery stores, Loewen says they are not affected by the group gathering restrictions put in place by the Provincial Government.

“We aren’t a gathering, we are a recognized essential service. However, we will have social distancing in place and encourage everyone to wear a mask,” said Loewen.

Not much is changing with how the farmers’ market is running this year, Loewen says. Vendors will all be wearing masks, and are encouraged to have shields separating the vendor from the customers, similar to what is seen in grocery stores.

Vendors will also be spaced out a bit, to further encourage social distancing.

“I will have the vendors spaced out, but probably not as much as we were last year, but I still want to make sure there is room for social distancing and to keep everyone safe,” Loewen said.

While not a social gathering, Loewen says the market tries to keep an eye on how many people are at the market, but says it is a difficult task.

“Because we are an outside market it is hard to keep track of how many people are actually there. We have the area roped off, but people duck under the ropes and come to the market from all sides,” she said.

Because of this, Loewen says there is no limit on customers at the market, but she does encourage everyone to practice social distancing and to wear a mask while at the market.

Last year, the local farmers’ market delayed opening, and ran from early June instead of its usual May long weekend start.

The pandemic affected more than just the started date. Loewen says the number of vendors was done last years as well.

Normally the Sylvan Lake Farmers’ Market sees upwards of 70 vendors, but last year, it saw 50 vendors “on a good day.”

This year, the market has 50-60 vendors signed up to participate.

“It does fluctuate from week to week, but I think we can expect to have at least 50 vendors each week.”

There will be no live entertainment at the market this year, due to regulations put in place by the provincial government. Nor is eating allowed on site, but Loewen says there will be food trucks set up as usual.

“We won’t have tables and chairs set up, but the food trucks will be there for take away services,” Loewen said.

The Sylvan Lake Farmers’ Market runs every Friday until Sept. 26 from 4:30-7:30 p.m. at Lakefront Park. Elderly shoppers and those who are immune-compromised are encouraged to come out for early shopping at 3:30 p.m.

Onsite parking is limited, though there is ample street parking nearby.

“We are excited to be back again,” Loewen said.