Marco Island’s Farmer’s Market opened for the 2014-2015 season on Wednesday with an updated layout and 100 booths offering fresh produce, food options, art, homemade crafts and a friendly ambiance.
Veteran’s Community Park, located at 901 Park Ave, is the market’s home for the next five months. This is the fifth year the traditional gathering of vendors and shoppers will convene at Veteran’s Park. According to Alex Galiana, Administrative and Facilities Manager for Marco Island’s Parks and Recreation, the ongoing market was originally started by a private group and held on the grounds of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. Annual growth prompted organizers to relocate to Mackle Parkwhere it expanded to 40 vendors.
The City of Marco Island now regulates the market. This year, after much discussion, the number of booths has decreased from 120 to 100 in an attempt to control congestion, and prevent the event from getting “too big.” “This is most definitely a destination for people in the area,”Galiana said. During peak season, he noted that up to 2,000 people can be expected to visit and shop the market.
Interestingly, many vacationers who come to Marco’s Farmer’s Market, also end up spending a night or two on island, sightseeing and dining at local restaurants, commented Samantha Malloy, Marco Island’s Community Events Coordinator. “The marketis good for the community and it’s an enjoyable experience.”
If you plan a trip to the Farmer’s Market, Galiana advises, “Be patient with the traffic situation. We urge Marco Island residents to use alternative routes, avoiding Collier Blvd.” This is due to continuing construction on the Smokehouse Bay Bridge. The market opens at 7:30 AM and closes at 1 PM rain or shine. Free parking is provided onsite, with additional spaces available at nearby Marco Lutheran Church and Elkcam Circle. The market is wheelchair accessible and will be open every Wednesday through April 22, 2015, except for the weeks of Christmas and New Years when it will be held on Tuesday.