Vail market hits its stride
VAIL – The allure of the food at the Vail Farmer’s Market hits Summer Holm as soon as she walks out of the parking structure, she said.”That smell, you just say, ‘I have to have some of this and this,'” she said.Holm, a longtime Vail resident, often buys jewelry and vegetables at the market, too, she said.”It’s set up so right,” she said. “There are just so many things.”Many people seems to share Holm’s feelings. The market has grown each year, and its organizers now say it’s the biggest farmer’s market in the state.The market takes place each Sunday from mid-June to mid-September, 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. There are 110 tents this year, and between 80,000 and 100,000 people are expected to attend this year, said Rick Scalpello, an organizer. The market started in 2002, with 20 tents.The market has really gelled this year, Scalpello said.
“This year, there’s just a buzz,” he said. “Everybody’s talking about the market. … Maybe we just hit critical mass.”You can buy anything from fresh fruits and vegetables to bratwursts to jerky. Vendors also sell non-edible items like books and art. Even local nonprofits, like the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, have tents.Scalpello said the market is so popular that it has to turn away more vendors than it accepts. A third of the vendors come from Vail, another third come from Eagle County and the rest come from outside the county, Scalpello said.About 75 percent of attendees are visitors and 25 percent are locals, Scalpello estimated.There are musical acts that perform at the market each week.”We call it a farmer’s market and an art show, but it’s become a festival every Sunday,” Scalpello said.The market is organized by the Meadow Drive merchants.
Peter Haller, chef at Alpenrose restaurant/bakery on Meadow Drive in Vail, sells brats, sauerkraut, potato salad and desserts at the market. Many times, he sells out of his food.”It’s great to have that,” he said. “It’s a great addition to Vail.”It also brings people into the restaurant, he said.Even businesses that are in parts of town other than Meadow Drive like the festival. Tom Higgins, owner of American Ski Exchange on Wall Street, said the market increases his foot traffic.”There wouldn’t be anyone in the village at 10 in the morning on a Sunday if it weren’t for the farmer’s market,” he said.
Marty Stewart, owner of Sunland Silver on Meadow Drive and the current manager of the market, echoed Higgins.”Before the market, I’d have two or three people at my store by 1 o’clock” on a Sunday, he said.The town of Vail contributed $23,500 to the festival this year.Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or email@example.com.Vail, Colorado