By Megan Rule | Staff Writer
A local favorite, the Waco Downtown Farmers Market, will be celebrating its fifth anniversary on Friday with a special night market.
“This is a celebration of our five-year anniversary,” said Kristi Pereira, manager of the Waco Downtown Farmers Market. “We also wanted to do our second fundraiser of the year, so we thought this would be a great time to get the community together and celebrate.”
The actual anniversary is Nov. 19, but the celebration will be held Friday. According to Pereira, it is a festival-type setting with activities for kids in addition to almost all the regular vendors. There is also going to be a handmade products vendor.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the community come together to celebrate and support the Waco Downtown Farmers Market,” said farmers market intern Shelby Rubatzky. “Because we are a nonprofit, raising money helps us maintain and improve the quality of the market, so this event is very important to us.”
The market is free to the public, but there is a wristband required for children’s activities that costs $5. All products sold by vendors will vary in prices like a typical Saturday morning market. The market will be held in its normal location on 400 S. University Parks Dr. Pereira said, as far as fundraising goes, there will be a raffle for a basket in a silent auction. The market reached out to about 15 local businesses, and the businesses contributed services and goods to auction off. All the proceeds made Friday evening will go to the Waco Downtown Farmers Market.
“The farmers market is by far my favorite thing about Waco,” said Ardmore, Okla., senior Alex Davis. “Don’t get me wrong, Baylor is amazing, but the farmers market truly to me is the most incredible example of a bonded community.”
Pereira said this is the first event of its kind for the Waco Downtown Farmers Market, but the market is exploring options of continuing some of these events, including the farm-to-table fundraiser held earlier this year, as annual traditions. Since the market is a nonprofit, it relies on outside revenue and community support.
“We just really want everyone who can come out to be there and support us,” Pereira said. “It’s a fundraiser for us but also one more opportunity to be able to support local farmers and local food. We want to extend the invitation to everyone, including Baylor students who are a large part of our support base.”
The market started in 2011 with only about 15 vendors. Pereira said there are now over 60 vendors on the roster. Not all vendors are at the market every weekend as a lot are seasonal. The market currently ranges between 30 and 40 vendors a week, so it has more than doubled in size since its beginning.
Pereira said this is a great opportunity for those who can’t make it out on a Saturday to see what the market is all about, as most of the regular vendors will be there. This is also a new way for the market to tell its story and communicate with Waco.
“I love the multitude of college students, the wide range of individuals, the families and the animals,” Davis said. “The farmers market brings people together. That’s what this community is all about, and that I am thankful for.”