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Kelowna outdoor farmer’s market organizer excited to welcome artisans again

FILE PHOTO - Kelowna Farmers' and Crafters' Market
FILE PHOTO - Kelowna Farmers' and Crafters' Market
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Kelowna Farmers' and Crafters' Market

The Kelowna Farmers’ and Crafters’ market will return with its artisans for the outdoor season.

Frances Callaghan, organizer of the market, was feeling frustrated last holiday season when the province announced farmers' markets would not be allowed to have artisans due to the pandemic.

READ MORE: Kelowna farmer's market organizer airs frustration over new restrictions limiting artisan sales

On Friday, the province lifted its restrictions on artisans and florists at markets. Earlier this year, an online petition gathered nearly 10,000 signatures, advocating for the return of non-food vendors. It was addressed to provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry as well as Health Minister Adrian Dix and Agriculture Minister Lana Popham. 

“We’re so excited that we’re back. It’s something that we were waiting a long time to happen for, so it’s nice to have them back,” Callaghan said. “We’re back as a market family now.”

The Kelowna market will return for its outdoor season April 3 on Dilworth Drive from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. This season will begin with mostly artisans as farmers don’t have a lot of produce this year, Callaghan said. The market will start off with roughly 50 vendors that will change as the season progresses.

“There’s a lot of excitement as people have been waiting for it… I think Friday I spent about four hours on the phone, talking with (artisans),” she said.

The farmers' market has seen an increase in non-food vendor applications this season too, she said.

She’s received about 30 applications already. Compared to last season, she saw about 60 for the whole season.

The market is also planning with the city to reopen pop-up markets in Kelowna’s downtown, she said.

“We’re just looking at the possibilities for this year.”

Other spring markets in the Thompson-Okanagan are also preparing to open for the season.

Penticton Farmers' Market begins April 17. Social distancing measures will be in place and access to the market will be limited to 75 patrons at a time and will have half of its vendors compared to a regular year, cut from 80 to about 45.

The 100 block of Main Street in Penticton will be closed to all vehicle traffic on Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. until Oct. 31, according to its website

The Kamloops Regional Farmers' Market will also return April 17.

The market can be found on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the 200 block of St Paul Street and on Wednesdays on Victoria Street starting May 5 from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Vernon Farmers’ Market opens outdoors April 15 at Kal Tire Place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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