The Invermere Farmers’ Market is a well-loved outdoor event that draws visitors and residents like bees to a honey pot during the hot summer months. Not only does it provide easy access to items not otherwise found in the valley, but it’s a great gathering place for friends and family — a weekly social that provides the perfect excuse to head downtown wearing your Saturday best, grab a delicious baked treat and your favourite coffee, and watch the world go by. Some would say the only drawback is that the market is located off the beaten track in what is generally considered a back alley, not the most aesthetically pleasing location.
It was only a matter of time before the notion of moving the successful market to the heart of downtown Invermere, along 7th Avenue, reared its head, and now that it has, it’s meeting resistance from the market vendors themselves. But the concept of closing downtown Invermere to traffic and making it a pedestrian zone for a few hours each weekend merits much more debate and, yes, even compromise.
It’s clearly important that the “make, bake and grow” guidelines of the Farmers Market Institute need to be followed. If the vendors are concerned they will lose this requirement, then asking the store owners to hold off putting their products outside for the duration of the market isn’t that much of a stretch, given how much more foot traffic they stand to benefit from by having the market directly on their doorsteps.
But the concern that the street location — with its two empty lanes, empty parking spaces on either side and large intersections — does not provide enough room for vehicle manoeuvring is somewhat bemusing; as is the security concern that the backsides of booths will be exposed to the public, as this could easily be solved by a configuration whereby two rows of vendors would face outwards towards the store fronts.
Clearly, the District of Invermere and the Invermere Business Committee see the benefit of working with the market. If only the market was to respond with more honey than vinegar; then Invermere could evolve in a way that would help create a buzz for the entire region.