The Downtown Farmers' Market held its first event of the summer Sunday.
Because of COVID-19, the popular market looks a bit different this year.
The market is run by Downtown Charlottetown Inc. Typically on Sundays in the summer, a collection of local artisans and farmers set up on Queen Street to sell their goods to Islanders and tourists alike.
With some rain in the forecast and COVID-19 top of mind, some vendors didn't know what to expect for the first market of the year.
"I'm quite surprised how many people are here," said Ryan McAdam-Young, owner of Ginger Snaps, which makes clothing.
McAdam-Young has been a vendor at the market for seven years now. Farmers markets are the main source of her income through the summer.
Not sure what to expect
She said she wasn't sure what to expect when getting ready for the weekend.
"We usually have quite a lot of tourists visiting from all over the world," she said. "So I wasn't sure that we'd have as many people that were actually coming and buying.
"A lot of time locals would take in the event, but they see us every week, right. So, we do depend on … people that are here visiting the area, too."
She's said she's used to some uncertainty with the farmers market, so she's still remaining positive about the season.
McAdam-Young was wearing a mask, one of the precautions that she's taking for the virus. She said she still wants to engage with customers, but to do it as safely as possible.
"I feel as if it just gives us both that extra level of protection," she said.
She is also asking people not to touch the products unless they're interested in buying.
"And then when … the market is over, all the things that I have will be just bagged up until the next market," she said. "So, they'll be a week, kind of, quarantined themselves, too."
Asking people not to touch is something that's also being done at South Shore Soaps.
"We're trying to minimize as much contact as we can," said owner Molly McGrath. "So we're not taking cash today. We're doing tap, advising people not to touch what they aren't going to buy, those types of things."
It was the first time McGrath got to see her regular customers in months.
"They're excited to be back," she said. "They're excited to feel a little normal again."
'Not looking to have a huge market this year'
The market itself has undergone some changes. The first thing people will notice is that there are pylons down the middle of the street, designed to keep traffic flowing in one direction.
Vendors are spaced further apart as well.
In other years, vendors are spaced about three metres apart. That distance has increased.
Dawn Alan, executive director of Downtown Charlottetown Inc., said that is for safety. Because the space was available "it didn't make any sense not to spread them out a little bit," said Alan.
There will be no entertainment on the street either. "We don't want to give people a reason to loiter or to gather to listen to or watch a stage presentation," said Alan.
The market will be smaller this year. Only 50 vendors are confirmed.
"We've got lots of room for expansion if that should happen but we're not looking to have a huge market this year," said Alan.
"But, we're happy with what we have as well. We're bringing a product back that people will like and presenting an opportunity again for shoppers and for vendors."
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