Columbia Falls Farmers Market

By Beacon Staff

A community forum sponsored by the City of Columbia Falls was held in the winter of 2007 to discover and focus on opportunities to encourage local business and families through community building events.

In the summer of 2008, the first Columbia Falls Farmers Market opened consisting of a flea market with eight to 15 vendors for eight weeks located two blocks from Nucelus Avenue.

By 2009 the market was reorganized under the nonprofit community group, First Best Place. The market moved to Discovery Square, a former bank building on Nucleus Avenue. With an average of 35 vendors, merchandise sold at the market was now limited to handmade or locally grown. Vendors included nine to 12 agricultural offerings, including honey, lamb, flowers and garden produce.

In the years that followed, the market increased to 16 events throughout the summer with as many as 25 agricultural vendors. In spite of bad weather and some economic decline, the market continued to support local agriculture and local business by providing a home for local people to sell their produce and unique arts and crafts at a family friendly event that brings people together in the sense of community.

Now, forward to 2013. The market is alive and well because of the market Committee, formed in the winter of 2012, by vendors and other interested parties who realize its importance to the community. Breathing new life into the market, it has been reorganized as an independent, nonprofit under the wing of the Columbia Falls Community Foundation, in partnership with the City of Columbia Falls and the Columbia Falls Chamber of Commerce with support from local businesses. The market has a new location that will encourage local customers as well as those visiting our community.

Sensitive to economic times, the market attempts to obtain grants and contributions while using fiscally responsible measures to keep the market costs low for our vendors and customers. The Market Committee is proud of the quality of produce and other items available at the market and reviews our vendors to maintain a high quality for our customers. The market provides a venue for non vendor, local businesses as a weekly market sponsor, providing an advertising or public relations opportunity.

Attempting to keep in mind a family friendly event, Pinewood Park was chosen for our location. Different local musicians perform weekly and food vendors are available for your picnic pleasure.

A website (www.ColumbiaFallsChamber.org/farmers-market) and Facebook presence are now available where a list is provided of all regular vendors; a guide to that favorite grower or unique everyday or special occasion gift from jams, pottery, balms and salves, jewelry, gems, local woodcraft, paintings, furniture, birdhouses, soy candles, chair massage, dolls and toys, unique felted hats, Asian medicine consulting to photography.

Come to the weekly, 2013 Columbia Falls Farmers Market. Support your community, eat local, discover local quality gift items and enjoy a picnic in the park. The season runs Thursday, June 13, through Sept. 12. including a Fourth of July Market. The location is Pinewood Park (with the City Pool) on the corner of Ninth Street (Highway 2) and Fourth Avenue West.

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