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Puyallup Farmer's Market returns, organizers hoping for a better year

This year the market will have some changes. Visitors will have to take food and drinks to-go rather than enjoying them inside the market. Masks are required.

PUYALLUP, Wash. — The Puyallup Farmer's Market started up again on Saturday morning following a serious financial blow to vendors and market revenue in 2020.

This year, instead of the market's normal 200 vendors, about 90 vendors were able to operate on Saturday at the market's temporary spot in downtown Puyallup at 2nd Street and East Meeker.

Patty Villa, farmer's market manager with the Puyallup Main Street Association, said it's not just the vendors who are excited to return this year.

"Local brick and mortars are grateful to have events happening that are [bringing] people into town," Villa said. "Even if it's not at the normal levels that it usually is."

In 2020, the Puyallup Farmer's Market started a month late because of strict COVID-19 restrictions and regulations. Organizers were forced to change location several times, operating at one point with only 47 vendors at the South Hill Mall.

Villa said the 2020 market brought in 35,000 people compared to 2019's market with 266,000 people.

"Our sales were down to one third of the normal and our revenue for the market was down to 27% of normal," said Villa.

This year some regular vendors were able to attend while others found success in going to an online business model. However, Villa said some vendors have completely dropped off the radar.

"Everybody's just doing their best you know, that's the impact that I know of. It's difficult for everybody," she said.

This year the market will have some changes. Visitors will have to take food and drinks to-go rather than enjoying them inside the market. Everyone is required to wear a mask and pets are no longer allowed inside the market.

"Even though we don't have the activities and we don't get to have the live music and entertainment and things right now, people still --they still love it," said Villa.