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Chamber Eyes Change In Farmers’ Market Schedule

OSWEGO, NY – If you’re planning to attend this year’s Oswego Farmers’ Market, you might need to get going a little sooner.

At its meeting Monday night, the Physical Services Committee agreed to a request from the director of the chamber to try an alternate schedule for the annual summer market place held Thursday evenings on West First Street between Oneida and Bridge streets.

The city and chamber are considering altering the schedule for the 2010 farmers' market.

The chamber requested the use of the following areas for the 2010 Oswego Farmers’ Market: West First Street from West Bridge Street to West Oneida Street, the Civic Plaza on West Oneida Street, and the grassy fenced-in area outside City Hall in front of the Code Enforcement Office.

They also requested use of the city bandstand each week, with fee waived, and permission to lift the open container ordinance to promote local wineries by providing both the sampling and selling of bottle (for home consumption) of wines.

The committee approved the requests.

In recent years, there have been complaints about the behavior of some teens at the market. The YMCA has attempted to alleviate that by offering a variety of activities for teens during the markets.

“We’d like to end around 8 O’clock, the crowds start to die down then, and start an hour earlier (at 4 p.m.), Beth Hilton told the committee. “This would allow an opportunity for some of our more senior residents to attend the market before the crowds set in. We had complaints last year that the market gets so crowded it is hard to maneuver with a walker or in a wheelchair.”

The person at the chamber who is handling the market this year has some good ideas, Hilton said. One would be to have the seniors bussed in from the various senior citizen facilities, she said.

They would also like to start setting up the vendors at the market at 3 p.m. instead of 4 p.m., she added.

There will be parking issues that early in the afternoon, Mike Dehm, police chief, pointed out.

“It’s bad timing, I know,” the chamber director admitted.

She hasn’t had the chance to speak with all downtown merchants about the idea.

“To be honest, some of them like the idea of us bringing in the senior residents and using it as more of an open house. We have had a little bit of resistance because there is such an issue right now with the parking downtown,” she said.

If the council wasn’t comfortable with approving that, she suggested doing it on a trial basis for special dates such as Polish or Irish nights at the market.

“Some of our older residents come in to the market and really enjoy those nights,” she noted.

“Instead of flip-flopping times later, I think it would be easier for you and the business people if you start with your new time. If it doesn’t work, right away you’ll know.”

The full council will consider the recommendation at its next meeting.

This year’s market will run Thursdays from May 25 to Sept. 30.

4 Comments

  1. Because of the market’s location I have avoided going downtown on Thursdays. Other cities have their markets off of the main road and in parking lots. Those of us who still work find the entire thing a great inconvenience -getting to the bank, drugstore etc. is a real problem on Thursday – starting earlier will make it even worse—yes, I am in the minority—but to get fresh vegetables I go to Fulton where it is more convenient.

  2. However, IF it dies down after 8 PM, why aren’t those folks that can’t take crowds coming then? I know that sounds like a devil’s advocate sort of question, but isn’t this so that a lot of the good quality produce will be sold by the time many of the individuals who are working poor won’t be able to get there before a lot is gone?
    In summer it is still daylight until 9:30, but in Fall when items become short supply, by even 6 PM (the middle of the market) a lot is already cleaned out. We know seniors are on fixed incomes, but I believe that working families in Oswego County may trump that senior discount mentality. MANY of the seniors in our county are NOT as economically strapped as the small families (many, many single parent) who rely on the market to get their fresh (and often discounted) produce.

    Just a thought. Two sides of each story.

  3. Why not the paved lot over near The Fort…the one right on the Lake. I believe the city owns the land. Parking would not be a problem, more manageable pedestrian traffic.

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