First season of Clarenville farmers' market blown away by high winds

High winds have blown the first season of Clarenville's farmer's market to an abrupt end, due to safety concerns around the market's tent structure.

Market plans to have permanent wooden structure in place next season

Safety concerns forced an early end to the season for the farmer's market in Clarenville. (Farm and Market Clarenville/Facebook)

High winds have blown the first season of Clarenville's farmers' market to an abrupt end. 

Krista Chatman, a farmer and the managing director of Farm and Market Clarenville, says that recent winds were too much to handle for the large tent that houses the market. 

"We made a safety choice — safety above all else — to pull down the tent, because it would be dangerous to have patrons in that tent when there [were] high winds," she said. 

Chatman said the tent is an octagon shape, with two centre poles about 20 feet tall that support the tent in the centre. The tent is bracketed down and attached to steel plates on a concrete base, large enough to hold 36 vendors, each with a six foot table.

The farmer's market is in a tent supported by two tall poles in the centre and has room for 36 vendors. (Farm and Market Clarenville/Facebook)

She said there were a few occasions where winds of more than 80 km/h put significant stress on the tent, however. 

"We had people inside the tent then and I was nervous about that, I didn't like that at all," said Chatman.

"[The tent] didn't take damage, per se, but we could tell that she's not going to take much more of that, she's not going to be able to hold up to that type of wind."

'Saddened' by closure

Chatman said it was a big achievement to get the market up and running, so it's unfortunate to see the season end well before the scheduled closing on Dec. 16.

"We were very successful in our first market, and I'm super proud of how everything went down, and now just to take it down a bit early, it's surreal really," she said.

"I'm saddened by it, but safety, again, is our number one concern."

The early closure will have an impact on vendors, Chatman said, as the market is the main source of income for some, but most are very understanding of the safety concerns. 

Crews remove the tent that housed Farm and Market Clarenville after it was threatened by heavy wind. (Farm and Market Clarenville/Facebook)

She said tent was taken down before it sustained any serious damage, but the market is working to secure some funding to make changes for the 2018 season.

"Next year, in order to prolong our market season, we're hoping to have a permanent structure in place. That structure will be a wooden frame structure that's going to sit on the concrete pad that we already have," said Chatman.

"It will have garage doors and everything on the side where we can look out. The scenery and everything that's around, the farm part of the market and the outside vendors, would all become one."

According to Chatman, the market meant a lot to the community.

"It brought everyone together, a place to go a meet, a definite social enterprise. It was a great place to be on a Saturday."