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True downtown farmers market?
CVB making move to jettison popular summer event
The farmers market may return to Library Park as a downtown event. - photo by Bulletin file photo

The farmers market could return to Library Park this summer as a “true” downtown Manteca event.

The Manteca Convention & Visitors Bureau that has operated the market since its inception in the late 1990s has approached the fledgling Downtown Manteca Business Association to take over the event.

That’s because the CVB is shifting its marketing efforts to take on a more regional focus.

The downtown association board will consider the proposal when they meet Tuesday.

The CVB is proposing the two organizations operate the market jointly for one or two years. The CVB would promote and book the market in the initial year of partnership with the downtown group setting up and supervising the event. The association would be added as additional insured on the CVB insurance policy. The profits would be shared.

The second year the association would continue to handle booking and promotion duties, the CVB would provide the insurance and the profits would be shared.

In the third year the CVB would be out of the picture and the association would provide its own insurance coverage.

If the shifting of the farmers market to the downtown group was to get a green light, it would give Manteca’s traditional commerce center a marketing tool to lure people downtown. It also could help counter plans by the management of The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley to institute even more community orientated events as additional outlet stores open in a bid to establish itself as a town square of sorts for Manteca.

Orchard Valley operator Poag & McEwen is seriously considering rolling out their own farmers market at some point in the future.

Former City Manager Steve Pinkerton had worked with the CVB on the outline for establishing an organization to provide weekly events downtown aimed at increasing foot traffic and business. It never went beyond talks. Since then the CVB has started shifting its direction to focus even more on regional tourism and visitors and shed community-only orientated events. Also, Poag & McEwen retained Linda Abeldt who served the CVB for 15 years as its executive director to step up Orchard Valley marketing efforts.

Already the retail center at Union Road and the 120 Bypass has established a number of community activities and is home to annual events such as the Cinco de Mayo celebration, its own Safe Halloween, and the Manteca Pumpkin Fair carnival.

The CVB farmers market was moved to Orchard Valley last summer due to work connected with the expansion of Library Park.

The Library Park expansion was designed to create a larger community gathering place in downtown.