Look for ribbons, balloons and bells on Saturday, June 16 as the Edmonds Museum Farmers Market pulls out the stops to celebrate 25 seasons of bringing the bounty of local family farms, artists and producers to the heart of historic downtown Edmonds.
The story began when Fred and Bette Bell moved to Edmonds in 1986 and were looking to do something that would make a difference in the community.
“We were adjusting and making our first steps here in Edmonds,” recalls Bette. “I said to Fred ‘well, we could just sit up here on the hill and live and die and never know a single person in Edmonds, or we can get downtown to the museum or someplace that interests us and get involved.’ So I went to a Museum board meeting, told them I’d like to start a farmers market as a fundraiser for the organization, and needed $500 for some initial advertising.”
The original Market Committee — comprised of Bette Bell, Wanda Pederson and Mary Van Meter — made decisions, worked many hours, and that was enough to get the ball rolling. The market was first located in the parking lot at the old Safeway Store, now Cascadia Art Museum, then the next year moved to 5th Avenue and Bell Street, and finally to the area between Main and Bell streets, where it operates today.
“I remember at the first market we had 10 vendors, and I was so excited,” said Bette with a huge smile and laugh. “After that first year we actually made several thousand dollars, which was wonderful. The market now has about 125 vendors and runs June through early October.”
The rest, as they say, is history. Over the years the market has continued to grow, and is a particular favorite with the vendors, many of whom come back year after year.
With the market getting larger each year, in 2003 the museum decided to try getting a jump on the season by opening a scaled-down version in May, and the Spring Garden Market was born. Giving market-goers first crack at early season vegetables and an chance to enjoy the special Edmonds kind of ambiance that just seems to happen on market day, the Garden Market brings visitors from across the region and the state to downtown Edmonds.
“We’ve got some special treats in store for our gala June 16 anniversary party,” said Museum Director Katie Kelly. “Be sure to mark your calendars and come on down for special music, buttons, a gala ribbon cutting (at 11 a.m. at the downtown fountain), and to purchase commemorative tote bags. We’re so excited to open the 2018 Market with a grand gesture! We especially want to thank the community, the city and the Edmonds Fire and Police Departments for all their support these many years.”
Now firmly established as a local and regional tradition, the Edmonds Museum Farmers Market looks toward a future of continuing the tradition of bringing local family farms, artists, craftspeople and visitors together in that special mix of magic that happens only on Market Day in Edmonds.
For more information, visit the Edmonds Historical Museum Market web page here.