MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - More than 900 shoppers and 40 vendors attended the grand opening weekend of the new Cowboy Trail Farmers Market southeast of Sundre.
The market is located in the former Champion Hay processing facility just east of Highway 22 and north of Highway 582 near the Harmattan gas plant.
In all, 516 people attended on May 22 and 385 people attended on May 23, said manager Shelley Ingeveld, who is also a vendor with Double N Ranch.
“It went very well,” said Ingeveld.
Market co-founder Gerald Ingeveld, Shelley's husband, also called the opening weekend a success and an exciting time for everyone involved.
“We started the idea of it in December,” said Gerald. “The longest, toughest task was getting all the permits in place.”
The market includes dozens of custom-made vendor stalls. Work at the facility has been underway for months in preparation for the grand opening.
The opening weekend saw visitors from across the region stop by for shopping and visiting and for a complimentary meal.
Vendor products at the opening weekend included handmade leather goods, fruits, vegetables, baking, woodcrafts, paintings, quilts, folk art, crafts, metal work, homemade soups, and clothing.
It costs $5 per table per day to rent a booth at the market, with all proceedings going to the Sundre Hospital Foundation this year, said Shelley.
“This year we keep the fees very low because we didn’t know if anyone would want to apply because are brand new,” she said. “We kept them low to encourage people to come.
“Tom Mennear owns the property and he wants to support the community, and the foundation is really important.”
Mountain View County's municipal planning commission granted the business an agri-tourism development permit for the facility in March.
The market includes a 15,000 square-foot existing building for indoor space and 30,000 square feet of outdoor space.
“We have capacity for about 100 (vendor) indoors,” he said. “And there are several acres for those who want to be outside.”
The plan is to have it open until the end of October. The market is open 4 to 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Organizers decided to have the market open in the afternoon and evenings so as not to compete with other farmers' markets in the district, which are typically open the morning and afternoons, he said.
Anyone interested in booking a table can call Shelley at 403-638-2356.