Columbia Falls Brings Back Farmer’s Market

By Beacon Staff

COLUMBIA FALLS – As part of continuing efforts to revitalize Columbia Falls’ uptown district, area residents have organized a summer farmer’s market at the planned site of a former, popular Whitefish pizza place.

Beginning June 19, about 20 local vendors will cluster booths at the corner of First Avenue West and Seventh Street, offering everything from coffee to baked goods, vegetables, flowers and handcrafts. Local musicians will add to the hometown flavor of local vendors. The market will run from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. every Thursday through Sept. 18.

The location is the future home of Truby’s Wood Fired Pizza, a favorite Whitefish restaurant that closed in 2006 and will reopen its doors in Columbia Falls next spring. Truby’s owner Kristin Voisin hopes to develop her three adjoining lots into the First and Seventh Street Market, which would include the restaurant, open-air booths and possibly office space for other businesses.

“I’ve fallen in love with Columbia Falls,” Voisin, a Whitefish native, said. “I think the community is really eager for new businesses and events – it seemed like a natural fit then for both the farmer’s market and the restaurant.”

The farmer’s market is a renewed effort – another Columbia Falls farmer’s market ran for only a season several years ago – spurred largely by Voisin, her marketing partner Mimi Moser and the First Best Place Task Force, a community group aimed at uptown revitalization on Nucleus Avenue, trail building and developing an uptown community center.

The farmer’s market and Voisin’s restaurant, they say, are the latest examples of rejuvenation in Columbia Falls’ uptown district. The market is scheduled to begin when local businesses are still open and close just before the 8 p.m. Thursday music concerts at nearby Marantette Park, in order to encourage visitors to spend “a day in Columbia Falls” and patronize local shops, Moser said.

“It’s another step toward bringing that district to life,” Barry Conger, the task force’s executive director, said. “New business owners like Kristin are investing and obviously the farmer’s market will be a large piece of creating a vibrant uptown, getting people out and moving around the area.”

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