Royal Palm Beach is moving theirs to Saturday while Wellington may put it on hold for a year.
WELLINGTON — One popular green market in the western communities is up in the air as another makes major changes ahead of the kickoff of the farmers market season.
Wellington is evaluating whether or not to have a green market this year as work is slated to begin soon to build a boardwalk along the Lake Wellington waterfront behind the Wellington Community Center, which shares a parking lot with the area where the green market is held.
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Meanwhile in Royal Palm Beach, Wellington’s former green market vendor is moving Royal Palm’s event to an area near Village Hall on the southeast corner of Royal Palm Beach and Okeechobee boulevards, and switching the green market from Sunday to Saturday.
Kathy Gilbert, of POTTC Events, which operates the Royal Palm Beach Green Market and Bazaar, said they wanted to move from Royal Palm’s event from Veterans Park to the lakeside area near Village Hall for awhile.
“All the pieces finally fell into place,” she said.
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POTTC Events operated the Green Market at Wellington for four years, but Gilbert said they opted out of the contract after last year’s green market season ended.
In Palm Beach County, green markets typically operate from October to March or April, cooler months when the markets are packed with residents, snowbirds and tourists shopping for fresh produce, baked goods, breakfast and lunch, and handmade crafts.
This year, that timeline overlaps with Wellington’s boardwalk construction, Assistant Village Manager Jim Barnes said. Work on the project is set to start in late September or early October and continue through March or April, he said.
“The question is, what do we do going forward?” Barnes said.
It’s a question Wellington Parks and Recreation staff will bring to the village council at its Monday agenda review workshop.
“Ultimately, staff is seeking some council consensus and direction,” Barnes said.
Among the options, Barnes said, are putting the green market on hold for a year, still having it and operating it in-house, or possibly hiring a new group to run it this year.
“We could say, ’let’s not operate it in the coming year with the construction going on, and then go back and re-evaluate and look at the program in the following year,’” he said.
If Wellington does move forward with a Saturday green market this year, the village could be competing with Royal Palm Beach for vendors.
“I think certainly that’s always a concern,” Barnes said.
Could the western communities support two green markets on the same day? It “would be difficult,” he said.
Gilbert is optimistic Royal Palm Beach’s new day and location will be a success.
At Veterans Park, access for vendors could be difficult, she said.
“They can drive right up to their spots to unload” next to Village Hall, Gilbert said.
The move also puts the market next to a higher-visibility intersection. Gilbert and her team did research and found Florida Department of Transportation statistics show an average of 42,000 cars per day pass through the intersection of Okeechobee and Royal Palm Beach boulevards.
That’s compared to an average of 14,000 vehicles per day that pass by Veterans Park.
“This should go very well for all of our vendors,” Gilbert said. “We have a great opportunity here at Royal Palm.”
The new location also will allow Gilbert to bring in a larger variety of vendors, including food trucks, she said, adding that the response has been very good since vendor registration opened recently.
The Royal Palm Beach Green Market and Bazaar will be every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. starting Oct. 19 and running through April 25.