The months-long saga between Dysart et al council and the Haliburton County Farmers Market Association (HCFMA) – over the long-term future of the Haliburton market – has been resolved, with the popular weekly event returning to Head Lake Park.

Angel Taylor, who sits on the HCFMA board, said market officials notified the township March 8 that it would accept the terms outlined by council to bring the event back to its spiritual home.

The market ran out of Head Lake Park for 11 years before it was moved to Rotary Beach Park last season. Response was largely negative, with attendance down approximately 30 per cent across the season and many vendors reporting losses.

The board reached out to council in late 2023, asking for clarity on the market’s location for the upcoming year. They were told the event could return, but not for free.

After much back and forth, HCFMA has agreed to pay the township $5 per vendor, per market day, for a seasonal cost of approximately $4,200. That’s based on the market having 40 vendors for 21 markets.

Taylor said the board has committed to covering those costs, rather than downloading them to vendors.

“We could not delay finalizing the location any longer,” Taylor told The Highlander. “We have begun working on plans to raise funds to cover the additional charge to our vendors and to make the market an attractive and vibrant destination this coming summer.”

Applications open to growers

She said the first market will take place May 14, running every Tuesday through the summer. There is a change in time, with the market to run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., instead of its usual noon to 4 p.m. slot. Taylor said the board hopes this will help with traffic concerns, as raised by some members of council.

After closing applications to potential vendors in early March, Taylor said they’ve recovered about three quarters of the merchants who participated in last year’s market. The board is still hoping to attract more agricultural vendors, with applications remaining open for local growers.

“We welcome our vendors back and thank them for their patience and understanding through this process. We aim to make this our best season yet,” she said.

Deputy mayor Walt McKechnie said he’s glad a deal could be struck to bring the market back to the downtown.

“This is what the community wanted, so from that perspective I’m thrilled. We’re very excited to partner with HCFMA and to see the market back in Head Lake Park. It’s a wonderful event that creates a great buzz in the community and showcases a lot of local products,” McKechnie said.

Anyone interested in becoming an agricultural vendor can email