HIGHLINE COLLEGE |Fri, Nov 15, 2019

During the Des Moines Waterfront Farmers Market this past summer, vendors found the market and interactions to be good, but said attendance was dwindling.

The outdoor weather, people and work make the market a rewarding experience, vendors said.

It has a "better atmosphere than other markets," said Kathleen Poague, a jewelry vendor. "One of a kind pieces can only be found here."

"The people are solid," said Tony Benson, a popcorn vendor.

"[It's] really fun to work at," said Stephanie Davey, a vendor with Snohomish Bakery. "Working outside is refreshing."

However, complaints were also made regarding lower attendance.

"It has been slow, lately. More people come around the end though," said Lori Fife, a cake vendor.

"[It's a] steady, if not lower attendance," President of Des Moines Waterfront Farmers Market Kim Richmond said.

Some people chalk the low numbers up to the parking fees at the Marina. "The parking situation has stifled the attendance," Benson said.

They used to have 500 people almost every Saturday, now it's more like 150 or 100, he said.

However, officials say that parking fees aren't causing this issue.

"If you make a purchase at the Farmers Market, that validates your parking," Marina Office Specialist Tara Reilly said.

Not very many people seem to know about this fact, Reilly said.

This validation is good for up to two hours, and requires a purchase at the Farmers Market as well.

The parking is also relatively cheap, Reilly said. "If you live here [in Des Moines], you can get an annual pass for $30 ... $60 if you don't live here," she said. "And [otherwise] the parking is sold in two hour increments."

For two hours the fee is $2, $4 for up to four hours, and $6 for a whole day.

The parking fees have also cut down on crime a considerable amount, Reilly said.

"Actual crime has dropped substantially," she said.

"It's cut down on general crimes, trash .... [on] a lot of criminal activity down here," Reilly said. "For someone who [might] live in the city, who has kids and takes them to the park, it's made a lot of difference."

And while the Farmers Market finished up this last Saturday, the Holiday Market begins Saturday, Nov.2.

This festive market started up just last winter, but officials say that they hope to make it an annual event.

At the Holiday Market, attendees can buy holiday gifts, treats, and festive drinks.

Events and workshops available for this year's have not yet been announced.

Last year's events included a wreath making class, wine tasting, crafting, and baking.

Admission for the market is free.

You can find this at the Beach Park Auditorium at 22307 Dock Ave S, Des Moines.

For more information on the Des Moines Waterfront Farmers Market or the upcoming Holiday Market, visit their website at dmfm.org.



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