Farmers Market may be coming to historic downtown

If the enthusiasm shown by the Branson aldermen in attendance at the board’s work session on March 18 is any indication, there may be a Farmers Market coming to historic downtown Branson in the very near future. The issue came up at the request of the Historic Downtown Branson Business Owners Association, an association of businesses in historic downtown Branson made up of business owners and operators.

The association was represented at the meeting by Cindy Brooks of Clocker’s Restaurant and David King of Branson Bill’s Emporium both located in historic downtown Branson. After considerable research the association believes that a Farmers Market in historic downtown area would be beneficial to the businesses in the downtown and be consistent with the atmosphere for downtown Branson that they want to project.

King said that they would like to run the market for 24 consecutive Saturdays starting the first or second week in May. He pointed out that their research has shown that the most successful Farmers Markets have a mix of vegetables and other farm grown products with about a 20 percent mix of crafts. King indicated that the crafters for the event would be very carefully selected and, for the most part, would be those performing or demonstrating their craft on site.

King went on to explain that they have chosen the parking lot at the corner of Pacific and Business Highway 65 as the location for the market because it is readily accessible, has restrooms, a good traffic pattern, and is highly visibile. Alderman Dick Gass pointed out that another advantage was its close proximity to the city’s parking garage.

King pointed out that they have had great response from growers just as the result of the association’s attendance at Framers Market training sessions and the contacts they have made doing the research for the project. The reason the association was coming to the board was because, under the current city ordinances governing special events, a permit can only be granted for 10 days. The association will need 24 days spread out over about a six month period.

King stressed that although informal, in actual conduct, there is an industry involved with conducting Farmer Markets, growers, craftsmen, etc. They need time to plan their participation by the hoped for early May starting date. City attorney Paul Link pointed out that there were other considerations besides the 10 day maximum verses the 24 days they want. He suggested that the application would have to go through the normal approval process by the various city departments necessary to cover items such as health, safety, taxes and other issues. Link also pointed out that if the application was only for ten days and not the 24 that no board approval would be required. Because of the time issue, it was mutually decided that the association would just seek approval for ten days right now and get it expanded to 24 if and when the initial application was approved.

Furnished Courtesy of the Branson Daily Independent