The Wallingford Farmers Market will open for its fifth season next month on Wednesday, May 19. Due to expansion and an increased need for customer parking, the Wallingford Center (45th and Wallingford) is now only able to offer market vendors the south section of their parking lot, totaling 24 spaces. This is also the final year that the market will be held at the Center.

In order to accommodate additional vendors, the Wallingford Chamber of Commerce and the Seattle Farmers Market Association plan to expand the market into the parking lane of Wallingford Ave (between N 45th and N 44th), with the vendors’ booths facing and partially filling the sidewalk. “For the first time, we anticipate that we’ll finally be able to have the market seen from 45th,” says Kara Ceriello, president of the Wallingford Chamber of Commerce.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has to issue a specific permit for use of this parking lane. Market Organizer Jon Hegeman tells us that SDOT has approved the idea, and that they’re just waiting for a formal diagram from the Association before they’ll issue the permit. “I don’t think the expansion onto the curb avenue is in question. It’s about the mechanics of what it’s going to look like, and the permitting process.”

While the 24 spaces in the back of the Center should be sufficient for now, Hegeman expects definite expansion by the time July rolls around and additional products come into season. “I can see another 20 vendors coming in,” he says.

While there was a discussion of relocating the market to stretch between Interlake Ave, N 45th and Stone Way, N 46th the Chamber and Association have decided against it due to cited concerns from nearby businesses and residents. Hegeman says that one particular business was terrified of losing their street access for customers.

Now underway is a Chamber initiative to move the Wednesday market to Saturdays and to close down Wallingford Ave between 44th and 45th for a weekend market. The idea is that the Wallingford Center’s plaza would then become a sort of “Village Square” and could host a variety of events for children and families, like live music, says Hegeman.

Of course, there’s already a Saturday farmers market just down the street in U-District. “There’s an overlap for sure, but we’re trying to reach the people who really don’t come on Wednesdays because they’re difficult for work schedules, children’s activities, etc,” says Hegeman. “We lose a bunch of our potential attendants because of the weekday time slot,” he says.

The primary goal is to provide an even larger market within walking distance for Wallingford residents where they can find everything they’re looking for. “With smaller markets, they’re more like convenience stores,” Hegeman says. “You can’t find everything you want.”

By the end of summer, the Association hopes to have gained enough community support to present a petition to the City to close down this stretch of Wallingford Ave for a weekend market. Hegeman says, “[the City’s] rule of thumb is: If people really want something, then they’ll make it happen.”

Due to popular demand, they hope to keep the market going until 7:30pm later in the season. A final decision has yet to be reached on this.

Wallingford Farmers Market: May 19- Sept 29, 3-7pm

  1. Heidi said,

    How ironic that the market has to be smaller because of an otherwise shortage of parking spaces… And then we talk about how to increase the market size and foot traffic. Hmmm. I am all for that last idea and for closing down part of the road. Time to get out of our car and onto our feet.
    Businesses should really support foot traffic and a healthy community rather than being afraid that customers cannot park. That would be a more sensible and long-term marketing strategy.
    With the Saturday market in the U-District and the Sunday market in Ballard, what about the Wallingford market kicking off the weekend on Friday (4-8pm: after work time for many). I think more people are ready to go out on Friday than on Wednesday evening.

    Wed, April 21 at 8:18 pm
  2. CC said,

    I’d much prefer Wednesdays. Lots of families aren’t around on weekends or are just as busy with stuff then. No need to duplicate the U-district Saturday slot. Sundays might work, as Ballard is so much farther than U-district.

    Wed, April 21 at 8:25 pm
  3. DOUG. said,

    Vendors obviously can’t be two places at once. Won’t having the Wallingford and U District events on the same day reduce the number of vendors each market will have?

    (And pretty much ditto to what Heidi said above.)

    Wed, April 21 at 9:16 pm
  4. Anonymous said,

    Friday night would be great.  I sometimes enjoy the U-District Sat market, or the Fremont Sunday market.  By adding a Friday after work option, I’d have my pick!

    Wed, April 21 at 9:42 pm
  5. Ben Sanders said,

    I can see both the potential for increased business for the vendors and some problems with overlapping with the U-District market day/time. At least three of the vendors I go to currently sell at both, meaning I could get a few fresh things on Wednesday to get the family through until Saturday, then shop in the U-District market for Sat through Wed. If the market days/times overlap, I imagine these vendors will choose one or the other market (and there won’t be the same option for local fresh produce purchase mid-week). But for those who only have a booth at the Wallingford market, I can see a switch to Sat AM being better for overall business. And I do like the idea of closing Wallingford Ave for a “market day”.

    Thu, April 22 at 4:50 am
  6. Lauren said,

    I would not want it to overlap with the U District market. Any major vendor is going to choose the U District which means that’s where I will be. I love having the option of going to both. And Wednesday is perfect because I can pick up items mid week. I love Wallingford but if it turns into an either/or decision – I’m choosing the U District Market. There’s a reason it’s one of the top in the nation!

    Thu, April 22 at 9:44 am
  7. John said,

    Wednesday is better than Saturday, regardless of what Jon H thinks – The  U-district market has Saturday. Don’t think Jon H run the U-district market (?).
    And Wally Center isn’t expanding, quite the opposite. But they don’t want any reason for someone not renting one of their numerous available spaces.

    Thu, April 22 at 6:21 pm
  8. Shannon said,

    Please, please, please do NOT move the Wallingford Farmer’s Market to Saturday. 
    With the U District market, we have an established Saturday neighborhood market and what we need is a weekday option so we can stock up between weekend market trips.  I predict the Wallingford farmer’s market won’t compete as well as the U District market for vendors or visitors…but keeping it a weekday market will bring people not only from the neighborhood but the city who want to shop during the week.  Please Chamber:  Let’s keep the Wallingford farmer’s market during the week (preferably Wednesday but anyday better than Saturday).

    Sat, April 24 at 7:09 am
  9. Sara B said,

    I think that the market definitely needs to consider staying open later into the summer. I live in Wallingford and have never been to the Wednesday market, because by the time I’m home from work, it’s closing down.

    Sun, April 25 at 3:52 pm
  10. Sparky said,

    I still vote for the Mosaic parking lot (behind Dick’s) where there once was a winter farmer’s market. Might even have room for the vendors to sell adjacent to their vehicles, making things easier. Get your veggies to accompany your Deluxe with fries and a shake. I believe proprietor Tim Smith is open to it . . . easy to get to via #26 or #44 or #16 so still serves lots of Wallyford.

    Sun, April 25 at 4:51 pm
  11. Cookie said,

    I’m totally opposed to moving the market away from Wednesday evening.  It is so nice to be able to get fresh food mid-week.  If they’re all on the weekends then a person has to really stock up and then, what’s the use of trying for “fresh”.   The Wed. time slot with expanded hours is the best idea, hands down.  It let’s us feel a little European by walking home and gathering our food on our way.  Nice!

    Wed, May 12 at 6:20 pm
  12. Evan said,

    keep THE mARKET ON wednesdays!
    there’s already a saturday market – and so the VENDORS will have to be in two places at once.
    PLUS – while there are MORE people perhaps availale on saturdays – that doesn’t change the fact that many people are BETTER served by a Wednesday Market…
    It would be BETTER to have the various seattle farmer’s markets on as many different days of the week as possible. Pileing them all up on the weekends does NOT make them available to more people – on the contrary it diffuses the saturday business. And my fear as a consumer is that the HIGH quality that I enjoy at the markets will become diluted by a less bustling environment.
    that and I like to make PLANS on the weekend. Wednesday eveing is a much better time to go shopping…

    Sat, May 15 at 8:40 am
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