'How community connects': Newmarket Farmers Market launch May 7 kicks off summer events season
This summer marks first year of full summer lineup of events and festivals since start of pandemic
May 2, 2022
After two years of pandemic-forced restrictions and cancellations, the Newmarket Farmers Market will kick off its season May 7.
The event will act as a springboard to a full summer lineup of events and festivals in Newmarket for the first time since COVID-19 closed the door on or limited experiences of community gatherings beginning in March 2020.
Cathy Bartolic, the new president of the farmers market, is looking forward to reviving its sociable atmosphere as more than 40 vendors and residents gather every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Riverwalk Commons from May 7 to Oct. Oct. 29.
“I’m very excited. I have a fantastic team that I’m working with. They’ve got lots of good ideas so hopefully we can implement them all,” she said.
“We have some new vendors coming on board that we’re really excited about.”
This year will be a significant improvement over 2020, when the market was held in a parking lot at the Magna Centre, and even last year, when fencing and pandemic protocols muted the experience at Riverwalk Commons.
“The ambience is what makes it. When we were at the Magna Centre, we were in a parking lot. All the things that make our market special, we couldn’t do,” said Bartolic, whose business, Perennial Petals, sells flowers at the market.
“You couldn’t do music, you couldn’t do food vendors, you couldn’t chat, you had to rush people along to get their stuff and leave. That’s not what it’s all about. It’s all about building community.”
Pandemic restrictions brought into focus the popularity of the market, Bartolic said.
“It’s just a very community feel. We find a lot of the customers will meet their friends down there for coffee, hang around. If you’ve got young children, especially in the summer when it gets hot, the wading pool is such an excellent activity; the kids just love it. It’s just a fun, community-feel place to be,” she said.
Town officials are “incredibly excited” about welcoming residents back to events and festivals, Mayor John Taylor said.
“It’s really the loss of a lot of these options through COVID that makes you realize that they’re more than just an event,” he said.
“They’re really how community connects, how community stays engaged and healthy and stays positive. If we’ve learned anything through COVID, it’s that a lot of what we do and how we do things is about our collective well-being and ensuring that we have a lot to do, to stay busy, to connect with people, to stay positive and optimistic.”
BIA chair Tom Hempen is excited about festivities on Main Street this summer, particularly Canada Day attractions such as axe throwing, buskers, stilt walkers, live music, rock climbing, street vendors, games and street patios.
The events also point to a growing vibrant business environment downtown, which includes a future boutique hotel and a number of new stores, he said.
While many events will take place downtown this summer, there are also activities happening in other parts of town, including the Easter Seals midway from May 12 to 15 at the Magna Centre, Canada Day concert by Switchbeat and fireworks at George Richardson Park on Bayview Parkway on July 1 at 9 p.m., and Touch a Truck at a yet-to-be-determined date at the Robert N. Shelton Operations Centre at 1275 Maple Hill Ct.
Events to keep an eye out for this summer include:
Pride Fest in June. Visit yorkpridefest.com for information
Tim Hortons Canada Day at Riverwalk Commons
TD Newmarket Music Series: Every Thursday from July 7 to Sept. 1 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Riverwalk Commons, featuring local and tribute bands
Moonlight Movies at different parks. Check newmarket.ca/moonlightmovies for the schedule.
Splash of Culture: Musical performances under the stars Sept. 9 at dusk at Riverwalk Commons.
New'bark'et dog festival Sept. 10 and 11 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Lions Park at 424 D’Arcy St.
For more information on summer events, visit newmarket.ca/events.