SPARKS, Nev.-The annual Thursday Whole Foods Sparks Farmers’ Market is drawing to a close. Next week will be the last of the season to buy fresh-grown products in Victorian Square. This year brought new vendors and products.
“We have some new gourmet foods like Gourmet Rooster; they’ve got some nice spreads and jams,” Market Manager Shirley Sponsler said. “We have marinated peppers, hot sauces, a beef vendor that does grass-fed beef which is new this year, so these are the kinds of thing we’re trying to get more of at the market.”
This is the 20th year for the Market but only the second at its current location. Veteran vendors say when it was held down the street it drew a much bigger crowd.
“It’s way down from where it used to be,” said Pat Angilley of The Grinder Switch. “There used to be 10,000 people out here on a Thursday night, now there’s maybe a few hundred.”
He’s been here since the market started and says though the current numbers aren’t generating the business they used to, they’ll continue to be a part of it.
“We’re trying to hang in there and hope that it comes back” Angilley said. “It was a great event and it’s been really good to us over the years and we’re hoping it will get back to that. People just need to come out and see what’s going on, help us grow again. It’s a great event; we just need to support it.”
Erik Kisbye and his family have made the 5-hour drive from Sanger, California to Sparks for the last 17 years. He says the drop in attendance has been noticeable, but it won’t keep them from the event.
“I think eventually with notoriety and word-of-mouth that it will grow,” Kisbye said. “It’s right in front of the Cinema now and that’s added value, people know that it’s here. It’s worth the drive!”
Organizers say this is the type of crowd and atmosphere they were hoping to attract with the new location.
“We don’t have the crowds but it’s a different kind of crowd,” Sponsler said. “The people that do come to the market now pretty much are buying. We had a lot of people that were partying, a lot of people that were down here to people-watch and they weren’t necessarily down here for the farmers’ market and we’re trying to take a little bit of the party out of it and put a little of the farmers’ market back into it.”
Next Thursday is the last day to catch the Whole Foods Sparks Farmers’ Market but several other area farmers’ markets will be open through the end of August.