The best word to describe the Waukesha Farmers Market this year might be 'new' — as in a new name, a new location and new hours.
Waukesha Downtown Business Association President Norm Bruce said the changes this year are no cause for alarm. They are instead just an extension of what the WDBA has been doing since it took over the market at the end of the 2012 season.
The market, which is set to kick off Saturday, May 7, and run through the last week of October, is now being called the Waukesha Farmers Market village, based on a new configuration of the vendor booths at the market's new location on the north side of the Fox River, 313 Bank St., across from Riverfront Plaza. According to Bruce, the new configuration resembles a small village.
Additionally, the market — a public, open-air, producer-only event held on Saturday — will be open this year for an extra hour, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Bruce said.
'We had vendors and customers (last year) saying, 'Why is it done at noon? I just got here,'' he added.
Reason for move
The market moved to a new location this year, potentially for the entire season, to accommodate ongoing road construction in the heart of downtown.
The market has previously been held in Municipal Parking Lot 1, along the Fox River on Riverfront Plaza. But construction along Main Street between Clinton and North Barstow streets prompted city officials to recommend the move to keep that lot open for vehicle and pedestrian access.
The common council will revisit the market's location during its last meeting in June, when construction is wrapping up, to determine whether the market will return to its normal location for the remainder of the season.
Bruce said during peak time this year — between mid-June and October — there will be 140 vendors at the market. That figure would be comparable to recent years.
The market is held rain or shine, and Bruce said on good-weather days the event attracts between 3,000 and 5,000 attendees.
Vendors at the market range from fresh fruit and produce sellers to craft makers, florists and hot food and frozen meat merchants.
'There's quite a variety,' Bruce said.
According to documents previously provided by Bruce, the WDBA made $17,031.64 from the 2015 market. The organization brought in $35,130 from vendors, and spent $18,098 for advertising, printing and an on-site market manager. Bruce previously said that money goes toward marketing for WDBA-sponsored events.