• WHAT: Extended farmers market
• WHERE: Orchard Valley, Union Road and 120 Bypass
• WHEN: Tuesdays 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. thru Sept. 27
• MORE INFO: Call the Convention & Visitors Bureau at 823-7229
Michael Zumkeller isn’t a big fan of the current Manteca Farmers Market location.
On Tuesday afternoon he sat beneath a pop-up tent at the Michelle’s Golden Brown Breads stand just off of the concrete walkway in front of the AMC Showplace Cinemas near the bustling Bass Pro Shops in the Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley, and pined for previous years when the event was located downtown.
“The atmosphere was just so much better, and I can’t wait until they get done with the construction so that they can move it back next year,” Zumkeller said. “You had a lot more people that were walking through downtown that would stop by, and there were a lot more trees and shade – it was just an all-around better site.
“I hear a lot of people say that they liked it better.”
With the City of Manteca currently involved with extensive renovations at Library Park, the Convention and Visitors Bureau had to find a new home for the 2011 Farmers Market and elected to set it up around the corner from their office in the commercial center that has become an economic draw for the community.
But that doesn’t mean that people want to go there to buy their fruits and vegetables.
Celeste Marquez says that she thoroughly enjoyed bringing her family with her when she came down to do her weekly shopping at Library Park, but doesn’t find that same atmosphere at the new location – instead finding it “impersonal.”
“You see a lot of people here but some are going to dinner across the street and some are going to the movies – it’s just not the same thing where everybody here is here for that one reason,” she said. “I know that it can’t be in Library Park because of the construction, but it really lost a lot of that feeling. We would hang out for a couple of hours, and you don’t really get that here.”
Some shoppers managed to find an upside to the more commercialized location.
“The parking here is great – it’s really easy in and out which you didn’t have before,” said Lori Hohn – who was there sampling some of the fare with her husband Mike. “We like coming down because of the fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s a good community event, and it’s something to do here in Manteca. “
The Manteca Farmers Market, which was supposed to end this week, will be extended until Tuesday, Sept. 27. The event runs every Tuesday from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. along the walkway near the AMC Showplace Theater.