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Westfield Farmers Market pulls plug on 2013 season

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The Westfield Farmers Market’s 2013 season is over before it began.

Organizers at the not-for-profit Downtown Westfield Association on Wednesday said the open-air market near City Hall will not operate this year. It had been scheduled for Friday evenings from June to September.

The cancellation notice posted on the market’s Facebook page did not explain the decision beyond a vague reference to construction projects under way throughout the community and a desire to “reassess logistics” to ensure its future success.

City Communications Director Carrie Cason said the U.S. 31 overhaul has snarled cross-town traffic, and crews are working on a pair of ambitious projects that aim to transform Westfield: the 300-acre Grand Park youth-sports complex north of State Road 32 and a downtown redevelopment project dubbed Grand Junction.

“It’s a logistical nightmare right now,” she said Thursday.

About 60 vendors participated in the  downtown farmers market last summer, Cason said, but attendance suffered due to the hot, dry weather. Organizers decided it would be better to sit out a year—or more—than to run the risk of a flop.

Cason said no decision has been made about next year, but plans for Grand Junction call for a downtown plaza that could open as soon as 2015, providing a permanent venue for the market.

“Ultimately, it will be held there,” she said.

The city is in land-acquisition mode for Grand Junction now. At least one building has been torn down to make way for the project, and Cason said demolition will continue through the end of 2013.

If it returns in 2014, the Westfield Farmers Market could look for a location near Grand Park, which is expected to draw 400,000 visitors in its first year of operation.

Cason said finding an alternative site wasn’t feasible this year because of a recent leadership change at the Downtown Westfield Association and on the market organizing committee.

“We need a great, vibrant market that is going to pull people in regardless of construction,” she said. “That just wasn’t going to happen this year.”

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What's your favorite suburban farmers market? Weigh in here on the North of 96th blog.

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