The City of Santa Maria’s popular Downtown Fridays farmers market has entered the final month of its first year.
The weekly event debuted last Spring and is held every Friday night starting at 5pm in the Santa Maria Town Center West parking lot in front of the Fallas department store near the intersection of Broadway and Main Street.
One of the goals of the Downtown Fridays experiment was to see if people would come to the downtown area on a Friday night for fresh produce, food, fun and games and live music.
Bring people and energy back to the area as part of a long-term master plan pursued by the City of Santa Maria to revitalize its downtown.
Those we spoke with on this Friday night say its been a resounding success.
“Oh yeah, absolutely” says local vendor and face painter Kathryn “Glitter Kat” Scott, “I think it was great for the community, the people that I have talked to, they really have enjoyed having some place to come down on a Friday night get a little food, listen to some music, so I think its been a great addition to the community.”
Farmers market always means fresh produce for sale, and that has worked in bringing people in.
“You can get great organic vegetables that you can’t get anywhere else in town”, says Santa Maria resident Jeanine Matthews who regularly comes to the Downtown Friday’s event, “its the live entertainment, and it makes the atmosphere downtown very pleasant and its walker friendly.”
In true Santa Maria style, there’s been a wide variety of freshly cooked food options and other locally-inspired treats for sale as well as family fun for all ages.
“We’ve been told that it is going to start again (next year) because it went so well this year”, says bounce house vendor Eli Flores, “so we’re going to be here setting up jumpers again next year.”
Part of the goal for Downtown Friday’s is to increase foot traffic in the area to the benefit of neighboring retailers, which also appears to be working well.
“Yes, I love their nachos, and the live music”, says Jennifer Hernandez who works at Woody’s Boba Drinks in the Town Center West shopping center, “I feel like it gets a lot of people together too.”
The last Downtown Friday’s event for 2016 is scheduled for October 28.
The plan is to bring the event back to the area in Spring 2017 with the return of daylight savings time.