Holiday weekend Farmer’s Market exceeds expectations
Foot traffic at the Farmer’s Market at the Club Square in downtown Cape Coral is usually down during the Thanksgiving weekend, but this year saw a sizeable crowd nonetheless.
Cape residents browsed and bought produce, plants, and other items amid balmy weather and a slight breeze Saturday.
“The Saturday after Thanksgiving is traditionally a little bit slower, but we’ve had an exceptional crowd,” said Claudia St. Ouge, business manager for the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral.
The Farmer’s Market, held every Saturday at the Club Square, has been providing vendors an open-air venue to offer their wares to customers for the last 18 years. The Chamber has been in charge of the event for the last eight years.
Only severe, adverse weather conditions like hurricanes and tropical storms prevent the Chamber from setting up the Market.
“Since I’ve been doing it we’ve only shut it down twice,” said St. Ouge, who has been managing the event for the last six years. “Rain doesn’t stop (the customers). They want their produce, they wear their ponchos,” she added.
Ponchos weren’t necessary Saturday, however, as clear skies encouraged people to browse the wares in the open-air market.
Fresh oranges, melons, tomatoes, pineapples and green peppers were just some of the produce on display, and flora of all shape and sizes, from the smallest fern to the towering palm trees, were also available.
Hand-made jewelry, purses, and handbags were also among the vendors’ wares, and an acoustic guitarist contributed to a relaxed atmosphere.
Donna Rockman, a 15-year Cape resident, said the Market is essential to the city’s sense of community.
“We need this. It promotes the community, it promotes the downtown area,” Rockman said.
The face-to-face interaction between customers and vendors provided by the market, as opposed to the distance of traditional box stores, enhances that sense of community, Rockman said.
“It’s an opportunity for the people to really meet a lot of the providers. It brings the community together. You get to meet a lot of your neighbors, too,” she said.
St. Ouge estimated 42 vendors came to the market Saturday.