Mainstreet Farmers Market gains popularity in Steamboat |

Mainstreet Farmers Market gains popularity in Steamboat

Mainstreet low on booths for weekly event that starts June 12

Blythe Terrell

Sweet Pea Market employee Adam Gray runs the cash register at the business's Mainstreet Farmers Market booth in September. The market is scheduled to start June 12 for the season and will remain in its Sixth Street spot in downtown Steamboat Springs.

— It hasn't even started for the season, but the Mainstreet Farmers Market is going gangbusters.

Only four of 66 full-time booth spaces remained available Wednesday afternoon, said Tracy Barnett, of Mainstreet Steamboat Springs. She still has booth space available on certain dates for the market, which runs Saturdays starting June 12. Registration is far ahead of last year for the event, which is in its sixth year.

"I'm pretty excited about it," Barnett said.

She attributed the popularity to the market's past success.

"I think the market has finally caught on," she said. "People look forward to it. I had people asking me last weekend why it hadn't started already."

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The market typically starts in June, and because of the area's abbreviated growing season, produce just trickles in until July. The market will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday through Sept. 11. It again will be on Sixth Street downtown, between Lincoln Avenue and Oak Street.

It will include standbys such as Sweet Pea Market and Sunny Breeze Farm, as well as new vendors, Barnett said. Visitors will find cookbooks, fresh bread, dried herbs and fruits, and items made from alpaca yarn, for example.

Local musician Trevor G. Potter handled the music bookings this year, Barnett said, and the stage will rock from about 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Barnett said other communities have learned from the Steamboat market.

"There are quite a few people who have looked to our market for the example, which is kind of nice because a lot of these people go to a lot of different markets, and they like coming to ours because it's a little more relaxed and not so rule-heavy."

Joanne and Stuart Churchill run Mountain Soap Factory in Steamboat. They started participating in the Mainstreet Farmers Market in 2008 at the suggestion of a friend in California.

"To begin with, we were so new at our trade that we were busy worrying about us and getting our little business going," Joanne Churchill said. "And then as the first summer proceeded, it was such a warm community, just this great Saturday thing that people did in Steamboat. And they would come down, and it was just like a family, and all worries and concerns were nonexistent."

Churchill said she likes the Steamboat market because Barnett runs it in an evenhanded manner, keeping vendors and patrons in mind.

Sandy Morris, of Rising Sun Ranch Creations, has been involved with the market with Barnett since the beginning. Her business makes all-natural bath and body products, saddle sore muscle rubs and more. Her husband makes horseshoe and spur items.

Morris said people frequently call her to ask when the market will start.

"I think because we have been doing it for so many years, everybody knows where we're at now as far as the locals are concerned," she said.

"I think even with the softball players, they all know where the market is," Morris added, referring to Triple Crown Sports tournaments held in Steam­­­boat each summer.

Some spaces still were available Wednesday afternoon. A food booth costs $35 a week, and a craft booth is $40 a week. Vendors who sign up for the whole season and pay in advance get $10 off a week, Barnett said. Browsing the market is free.

"It's a wonderful thing for our community to support, and I just hope everybody comes out and enjoys a good Saturday morning," Joanne Churchill said.

If you go

What: Mainstreet Farmers Markets

When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays starting June 12 and ending Sept. 11

Where: Sixth Street between Lincoln Avenue and Oak Street downtown

Cost: Free to enter

To buy booth space: Call Tracy Barnett at 970-846-1800