SANTA MARIA, Calif. - The return of the Downtown Fridays farmers market in Santa Maria at the end of the month is expected to bring back large crowds to the event's location at the Town Center West shopping center.
"We were hoping for maybe a thousand people a week and it ended up being more like two thousand people a week on average, sometimes more", says Mark van de Kamp with the City of Santa Maria about the first year of Downtown Fridays in 2016.
Building on the success of its inaugural year, organizers have plans to make the Friday night farmers market more inviting for all ages with more live music choices, more food and produce stalls and extended hours from 5:00pm to 9:00pm starting in May and going through August.
They've even launched a new cell phone app you can download to stay up to date with what's happening with Downtown Fridays week in and week out.
"We're going to have Spanish and English-language bands every week instead of alternating weeks, there will be an emphasis on more food vendors, that includes fresh produce as well as food trucks", van de Kamp says, "the beer and wine garden tent will also expand and once a month we're looking to have local breweries and wineries there as well."
The City of Santa Maria is also working on ways to reduce impacts to parking for Town Center West tenants from the influx of so many people.
Local business owners like jeweler Jose Barrientos look forward to the return of that Friday night foot traffic because its good for business.
"Last year I was there and it was very good for me", Barrientos says, "I gave away a lot of business cards and I got a lot of good customers so it's good for me."
To learn more about the March 31 return of Downtown Fridays download the app from the app store, visit the City of Santa Maria website at cityofsantamaria.org or contact local organizer Ed Carcarey at email@example.com.
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