The Fort Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce Farmers' Market has officially come to an end.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic provided some challenges this summer in terms of new health and safety guidelines, the overall turnout was successful.
"We did have to cut back on the number of vendors that we had this year, but we still had over 50 vendors a week which was really fun. Normally, we see a little bit closer to 75 to 80," said the chamber's events and marketing manager, Erin Duncan. "We had probably a similar number of community members who came to attend as we've had in previous years. Maybe a few less, but really it was pretty comparable."
Some of the new safety regulations included specific entrance and exit points to control how many people were in the market. Vendors were more spaced out and hand sanitizing stations were set up.
"We did not require all of our attendees to wear masks, but I would say a large portion of people did out of respect and support for one another," added Duncan. "Everyone really embraced that change and was really supportive. I think that they were willing to make those slight modifications so they could enjoy the market and everyone could remain as safe as possible."
Another precaution was the cancellation of the yearly free hot dog and corn roasts, as well as the removal of bouncy castles and concerts.
"Of course that was a little bit sad, but I think that people really enjoyed overall still having the market," Duncan explained. "And hopefully next year, if we can get a handle on this whole crazy situation, we can bring those things back."
As for the winter season, the chamber has decided not to go forward with its annual Christmas Marketplace this year. With the event being held indoors, they weren't sure if they could properly execute it while still following public health guidelines.
"We decided that, for this year, we're going to sit one out and we sure hope to have it again next year," said Duncan. "Safety first."