The slightly smaller venue this year will attract not only purveyors of produce, but also crafters, nonprofits, food and beverage booths and entertainers to Victorian Square each Thursday evening through Aug. 19.
Starting at 4 p.m., produce purchasers and sidewalk window shoppers can roam downtown Sparks looking for fresh deals. Sparks special events staff are expecting about 15,000 people per night.
However, veterans of the market may notice some differences this year.
While many growers are returning, the geographical size of the event will shrink this year. Ongoing construction in front of the Century 14 movie theater on Victorian Avenue means the market will end at 11th Street. In years past, the event has extended past the theater.
According to Sparks special vents supervisor Greg von Schottenstein, the farmers and other vendors will be concentrated in the parking lot just east of John Ascuaga’s Nugget.
“Frankly, we feel that our farmers and attendees will enjoy the flow,” von Schottenstein added.
Also new to the event this year will be two large buses that will shuttle market shoppers from the Legends at Sparks Marina parking lot into Victorian Square.
“Initially, we will be utilizing one shuttle bus for trips from Legends to Victorian Square,” von Schottenstein said. “The service will originate on Farmer’s Market days beginning at 4:30 p.m. between The Gap and Banana Republic and depart approximately on the half hour. The last bus will leave Victorian Square at 9:30 p.m.”
The buses were donated to the city by the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) in August.
The buses were marked as surplus by the RTC because they had reached the upper limits of their allowable mileage and were headed for the auction block, according to an Aug. 10, 2009, statement from RTC spokeswoman Felicia Archer.
Eventually, city officials say they would like to sell advertising on the buses to offset the cost of their maintenance.
For those who want to not only buy organic, but also keep Victorian Square clean, 30 yellow recycling bins will be positioned throughout the event for numbers one and two recyclables (plastic bottles).
For the vendors, Waste Management will be donating two four-yard dumpsters to recycle cardboard boxes from the event participants.
The farmers market will be canceled on Aug. 5 to make room for the annual Hot August Nights car show.
The city also has announced that Cullen Dillard and Associated Wealth Management Co. has backed out of the sponsorship of the event. The city is continuing to discuss the title sponsorship opportunity with other prospective partners, von Schottenstein said.