THUNDER BAY — Things are buzzing at the Thunder Bay Country Market as the community transitions into the second phase of Ontario’s reopening plan.
More than 65 vendors are coming back for a season of country marketing.
Locally grown and produced foods, crafts and artwork will be featured weekly on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings at the Dorothy Dove Building on the Canadian Lakehead Exhibition grounds.
Kelly Fettes, board president for the market, says they are excited to still be moving forward.
“When you come through our doors, you are keeping 65 other doors open,” she said.
Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fettes says the market never closed and is continuing to stay open.
“The market artisans were deemed non-essential and anybody who was classed as non-essential had to follow the rules and stay home,” she said. “But now they are back and both floors are open. There is food, growers and bakers and our upstairs vendors of our soap makers, our photographer and candle makers, they are all back.”
Market organizers are expecting more than a dozen outdoor vendors to attend the markets but due to weather and cooler temperatures, “they only have as much as they can grow,” and they bring it when they can.
“There are no crazy line-ups, other than our friend the DeBruin’s with their fresh lettuces and cucumbers — they always get a bit of a line,” said Fettes. “Volume is good, flow is good and we are still following all safety protocol. We are just following the rules like everyone else for reopening.”
With the second phase of provincial reopening, there is now 50 per cent capacity allowed inside the building.
What you won’t find at the Country Market is the popular cafe where many enjoyed sitting and having coffee or breakfast. Fettes says there might be sanitized seating and tables outdoors.
Outdoor buskers are able to perform in the second phase with restrictions and a spectator capacity.
The Thunder Bay Country Market is open each Wednesday from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.