As of right now, I cannot guarantee that the Ayr Farmers Market will be back next year. HOWEVER, I am working on it! Once I get approval for 2023 I will make an announcement! I very much want to continue running the market each year!
I will have a survey available this weekend for some feedback on the 2022 season and ideas/suggestions for next year. Before you fill out the survey, please read this blog, as some of your suggestions may already be addressed!
Personally I am really happy with the location. When I was in the early planning stages, I found there were not many suitable spaces available for a market. The market not only needs a large flat outdoor space for the vendors, and bathroom access, but also parking for the vendors and visitors. There are some locations in Ayr that were possibilities, but usually they did not meet all the criteria, or it was privately owned.
Centennial park is a popular spot that many people have previously suggested. Unfortunately that space has one very large draw back...geese! Geese are very protective and their goslings are around during the start of our season, which pose a threat to the vendors and visitors. The main issue though is that it becomes very unsanitary with the goose poop, which is not suitable for food vendors.
Being able to have the market at the Church St. location was ideal. While it is not completely visible downtown, it is perfectly located for accessibility. It is a wonderful central location, with enough space for the market to shrink and expand each week as needed depending on the amount of vendors signed on. Being able to close the street helped with visibility and gave it a charming quality!
This does bring me to my next point.
Seeing as there are no other locations that are suitable, or other roads that could be closed without causing major traffic impacts, I don't think we could have the market on a weekday. If the market were to run on a weekday evening, closing the road would mean we are inconveniencing people at the busiest time of the day, on their evening commute. Also, we could lose access to the Ayr News parking lot. Having a weekday market, potentially from 4-8pm would not be possible in that location, unless we are able to move inside the building, which at this time is not an option...maybe sometime in the future though?!
I am really glad we were able to have a good mix of local farms and artisans each week at the market! Personally I thought it was important to have a good selection of regular vendors for people to do their weekly shopping, but also have some new faces each week which help keep things fresh and interesting. I would have loved to see some entertainer at the market. Unfortunately partially due to time constraints and partially because this was our first year, we did not have weekly entertainment. Hopefully this is something we can have more of next year!
We did get a lot of requests for food trucks at the market. While I agree that having 1-2 food trucks there weekly, offering breakfast would have been fantastic, unfortunately we were not able to secure anyone other than Ayr's own Hitched Coffee. Hitched Coffee is Ayr's only local food truck, and even with offering free space at the market the food trucks we contacted were not able to attend due to the high license fees for our township. I will brainstorm and see if there is anything we can do next year to have fresh food at the market.
Overall I am really pleased with how the season went. I know that with Covid restrictions ending a lot of choose to travel this year. It was also our first year, and the first farmers market in Ayr. So while we did have some quiet weeks, we also have really great ones and made some really great connections within the community! I'm hoping that the market can continue and grow year after year! Make sure you talk about it with your friend/family, re-share posts, take pictures, come out...every little bit helps!
Don't forget our other events throughout the year. As for the Ayr Farmers Market, I am currently actively working on plans for next year and am looking forward to seeing you all next spring!