Rebranded as Chesterville Waterfront Market
CHESTERVILLE — Precursor to this weekend’s Art on the Waterfront festivities, the Chesterville Farmers’ Market — now rebranded as the village’s “Waterfront Market” — began animating the village’s riverbank walkways with people this month.
The annual Market officially kicked off its season with many new vendors and new leadership on May 18.
“It’s a great start to a new market, we’re really looking forward to a new season,” said Market Vice-President William Stephenson at the official ribbon-cutting. “We’re really looking forward to this positive vibe that we’re creating this morning, in bringing local producers to the people of Chesterville.”
“This market is going to blossom. This is the start of something that’s going to be very, very large and very beautiful, and when people come by here on Saturday morning, they’ll stop and they’ll enjoy this wonderful market,” said local MP Guy Lauzon, prior to wielding the shears provided by Cotnam’s Ace Hardware just up the street.
Stephenson credited President Monique Morris as the “driving force” behind the continuation of the Market, following last winter’s retirement of longtime Market president and founder Cheryl Beasley. “She’s really put her sweat and tears into this, and everything. It’s been a great rebirth.”
Respective residents of neighbouring North Stormont — Stephenson lives in Berwick and Morris in Finch — the new leaders have been working with Dan Riitano at the McCloskey Hotel to ensure the Market’s survival. Neither Stephenson nor Morris actually has a Market booth at the moment, but they have scored enough vendors to partially involve both levels of the waterfont walkway along Main Street North. A more recent board member, Shannon Bowman of Chesterville, does sell her used clothing wares at the Market.
Opening day saw 14 vendors on scene, but with at least 20 expected through the season that lasts into October. “We have more coming in everyday,” said Morris.
“A lot of our vendors are new vendors,” Stephenson noted, adding it was the elimination of rental fees that helped boost the participation rate. “Once we removed the fee, people started trickling in.”
Organizers also plan on holding a few Friday night markets on Victoria Street, with the first scheduled June 21st. The June 22 Saturday market will still go ahead in the usual location on the waterfront.
Re-establishing the Market was “a very arduous road,” conceded Morris, recounting meetings that began Jan. 28 at McCloskey’s. But seeing the official opening day “is surpassing my expectations,” added the President, who grew up in Chesterville and now runs a Finch-based catering business.
This article was edited to reflect the Market’s new “Chesterville Waterfront Market” moniker.