July 4 farmer’s market causing a few frowns
Vail visitors will be able to shop the town’s farmer’s market on the July 4 holiday.
The market, which will enter its third season of summer Sundays this year, will change locations this year, to Meadow Drive from its old location on Willow Bridge Drive in front of the Sonnenalp Swiss Haus. That location will be otherwise occupied with the demolition of the Swiss Haus this summer. At least for this summer, the market will be held on the street in front of the Vail Village Transportation Center.
The market will also be held every Sunday from June 20 – Sept. 19, including July 4.
The Vail Town Council affirmed that decision in a 6-0 vote at a special meeting on Thursday. The council had voted to approve the dates and site March 16, but scheduled another hearing after questions were raised about adequate notice of the first vote.
Some Bridge Street merchants, including Joe’s Deli owner Joe Joyce and Mug Shop owner George Knox, expressed concerns about the market impinging on their business.
Others, including Nicole Hoffmann-Ewing are more concerned that the Meadow Drive location will force the re-routing of town buses. Since the low-floor buses are too low to pull into the transportation center, they will be re-routed between the Crossroads Shopping Center, then east up the Frontage Road, then down East Meadow Drive from Blue Cow Chute to a stop in front of the Vail Athletic Club.
“I don’t like that we don’t have a bus stop right at (the Covered Bridge),” Hoffmann-Ewing said. Otherwise, though, she said she thinks the market is a great idea, although the July 4 date might not be necessary. The idea of the market was to draw people to town, Hoffman-Ewing said, and there will be plenty of people in town for the Independence Day holiday anyway.
Market co-organizer Rick Scalpello acknowledged that the crowds will be in Vail, but said the market, which runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., will help keep people in town between the Vail America Days parade and the annual afternoon concert.
“This should bring people in and keep them in town longer,” Scalpello said.
Other Vail business owners said they support the market wholeheartedly, holiday or not. “Sundays have become my busiest days,” said Marty Stewart, owner of Sunland Silver Gallery. “It gives good exposure to all the businesses around it.”
In fact, about half the vendors last year, and about half of those signed up for this summer, are either Vail businesses or local nonprofit groups, Scalpello said. The remaining vendors offer farm and food items that aren’t sold at town businesses anyway, he said.
“That focus on farm products should expand this year,” Scalpello said. Vendors selling genuine Vermont maple syrup and fresh fish from the Pacific Northwest are considering joining the market this year.
“I hope it just keeps growing,” Stewart said. “It’s been a great thing.”
AT A GLANCE
What: Vail Farmers Market
Where: East Meadow Drive, on the street just south of the Vail Village Transportation Center
When: Sundays from June 20 to Sept. 19
What’s there: Food and products from Vail shops and restaurants, as well as farm and raw food items from out-of-town vendors.