The weather has lost its authority over vendors and customers as the Gig Harbor Farmers Market prepares to open an indoor location from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturdays. The market will open this weekend at the former Peninsula Gardens building, 5503 Wollochet Drive NW.
Enthusiasm from vendors had spots filling up within a week, and many were on a waiting list, said market organizer Dale Schultz.
The fall market will include 37 vendors, many of them new. Others will be familiar from the spring and summer downtown and Uptown Gig Harbor markets.
“More products will be available, as clothing, art, quilts and paper products won’t need to worry about inclement weather,” Schultz said.
Vendors will carry an array of arts and crafts, pottery, quilts and jewelry. Booth staples such as produce, flowers, smoked salmon and baked goods will fill out the rest of the space. Additional seasonal products and produce will arrive as the market moves indoors.
The market will give reusable farmers market logo shopping bags to the first 100 people who attend opening day.
The Peninsula Metropolitan Parks District is leasing the 12,000-square-foot building to the farmers market on a temporary permit. The parks district recently got the approval and permits from Pierce County after the building hadn’t been in use for a few years.
“We are excited to provide this opportunity to the community with an indoor location and look forward to working with the market,” said Terry Lee, executive director of PenMet Parks.
The parks district bought the property after it searched to acquire a central site for maintenance and future offices. The 101/2-acre property is at the center of the parks district. Parks officials hope to provide a park there and to continue to offer a public venue such as a farmers market.
“An indoor facility offers different choices, more seasonal, that will include Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Lee said. “More vendors will have an opportunity to change out with the season.”
The future of the market will depend on the public response, Schultz said.
“This is a partnership with the community,” he said. “We have a temporary permit to carry the market until Dec. 21. Community support will decide the longevity of an indoor market.”
The Pierce County Council will review requirements for temporary permits in the next few months, Lee said.