The Owensboro Regional Farmers Market's 2019 season is scheduled to continue on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at Parrish Avenue and J.R. Miller Boulevard through Nov. 2.

But Becky Luckett, the market's manager, said, "With this weather, we may have to close earlier. It's either feast or famine."

The long dry spell isn't helping produce, she said.

This was the first full season with the new $500,000, 100-by-60-foot covered pavilion with restrooms and a concession area.

And the structure has made a big difference, Luckett said.

"Our foot traffic increased dramatically this year," she said. "We've had 1,100 to 1,500 customers on Saturdays. But it begins to decline when school starts."

At the peak, Luckett said, the farmers market "probably had 2,100 to 2,200 shoppers a week."

The market also had a site outside Owensboro Health Regional Hospital several times during the summer.

"The hospital site is hit or miss," Luckett said. "There's a lot of foot traffic from the hospital. But it got off to a rocky this year start with only three or four vendors at first."

The market was also open three Thursday nights during the summer.

"We averaged around 700 shoppers," Luckett said. "Next year, we're going to look at the possibility of more nights. Some people said they can't get there during the day."

The market averaged 30 vendors a week from Daviess, Henderson, McLean, Hancock and Spencer County, Indiana, she said.

And there were four food trucks parked outside the pavilion.

Over the winter, Luckett said, "We'll discuss our hours. We opened at 6:30 this year. We may look at 7 a.m. next year."

Earlier this year, Owensboro Health announced plans to sell 17 lots on Center and Hathaway streets between Parrish Avenue and 14th Street to Leitchfield-based Wabuck Development Co.

Wabuck plans to build between 42 and 48 one-bedroom apartments for low-income people who are 55 and older.

That will mean more customers in walking distance of the farmers market, Luckett said.

The market began downtown in 1983.

In 2003, it said it had run out of room downtown and moved to the parking lot of Owensboro Christian Church.

And in 2016, the market moved to its current location.

"Now that we're an icon, people know we're at that location to stay," Luckett said. "We're a gathering spot. We saw a lot of new faces this year -- people from their mid-20s to the latter years. It's been a good year."

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301, klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

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