[/caption] Remember the saying “Build It and They Will Come?” Well on Saturday (June 2), they kept coming and coming and coming to the Opening Day of the Des Moines Waterfront Farmers Market – over 2,400 people came, an increase of +33 percent over last year’s opening day crowd of 1,800! The Des Moines Marina staff and Market board members and volunteers built a bigger, better venue in their new location at Marina North. Opening ceremonies started with the South King Fire & Rescue’s presentation of the US Flag installed on the ladder truck and the National Anthem sung by Paul Hall of the Saltwater Saints. Also displayed were an antique fire engine and the 911 WTC Artifact which will eventually become part of the fire district’s memorial to fallen officers. “I have never seen anything like this before; people were coming from all directions, making this the biggest day in its history,” said Wayne Corey, market board president, between breaths. “The patron count was well over 2,400, besting last year’s opening day of 1,800.” The early morning weather looked pretty grim with rain falling periodically but by the time the shopping bell rang at 10 a.m., the sun gods blew away the clouds and the rest of the day was sunny and warm. One of the highlights of the day was the Boardwalk Bistro, which is actually all-prepared food vendors located in the food court, where people could take their meals to tables out on the boardwalk next to the water. More than one patron commented “this is just like eating on the Grand Canal in Venice.” The food vendors could barely keep up with the demand, some running completely out of supplies. “What a fabulous, fantastic and incredible day for our market and the city of Des Moines,” said Rikki Marhol, market manager. “This is the most vendors we’ve ever had and will grow even more in high season when fresh farm fruits and vegetables are harvested.” Wayne said he interviewed many people during the day and was amazed where people came from. Many came from nearby cities of Normandy Park, Burien, Kent and Federal Way, but others came from as far away as Orting, Puyallup and Sumner. “Because of the market’s new location, we advertised heavily throughout South King County via newspapers, radio and the internet,” Wayne added. “People came to shop but to also spend time on the water at the beautiful remodeled marina and the nearby Des Moines Beach Park.” Rikki wants to shout out a special thanks to the marina staff for all their hard work and help with two events going on at the same time and both in new locations. She said “the day would not have been so successful without their dedication.” Next week the market will be back, rain or shine, in the same location from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and continuing every Saturday thru October. Beginning June 16th the Des Moines Area Food Bank will be serving free lunch at the market for all school ages children. Don’t forget for the next two Saturdays to bring your used musical instruments for the Highline Music4Life program. Here are a few additional photos by WLB photog Michael Brunk. You can click individual images to view them larger.
Over 2,400 Enjoy Opening Day of Des Moines Farmers Market in New Location