Creston farmers’ market vendor to boycott Lions Club street fair

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To the Editor:

An awkward situation has arisen between the Creston Valley Blossom Festival committee, the Creston Lions Club and the Creston Valley Farmers’ Market, in that it appears the Lions club is pressuring the Blossom Festival committee (which holds the lease on Millennium Park for May 19) to restrict which vendors can partake in the farmers’ market on May 19.

A letter has been received by the organizers of the farmers’ market stating that only produce or food vendors can participate, they cannot accept applications from craft vendors for this market, any applications already accepted must be returned and the vendors informed that they must apply to the street fair sponsored by the Lions club in the Spirit of Creston Square if they wish to sell their crafts that day. Where is our freedom to make choices? As vendors, we have always had the choice to go to the Spirit Square, farmers’ market or any other craft fair that may have been taking place that day.

Does the Lions club really believe that telling us where we have to participate will make us change our minds? If anything, it will do exactly the opposite and we don’t go anywhere, so everyone is the loser — the Lions club, the farmers’ market, the vendors and, most of all, the customers. I would hope that through some serious negotiations a compromise can be reached that would be a win-win situation for all three groups and not a lose-lose for everyone.

As a farmers’ market vendor for many years, but not involved on any committee regarding the farmers’ market, I resent the fact that the Blossom Festival committee and the Lions club feel they have the authority or right to tell me where I can sell my craft. Any crafter has the right to choose either the market or the street fair or any other fair that may be taking place on the same day. Does this mean that a precedent will be set and the Lions club can soon be telling other service organizations that they can no longer be hosting pancake breakfasts?

Yes, the Lions club does a lot of community service, and there are many other organizations in Creston that do the same good deeds but they don’t tell others what they can and cannot do. The vendors of the farmers’ market are local, belong to and volunteer for some of these organizations and spend their money in the valley. Does this not count?

Some of these very vendors who have been advised that they are not to sell at the May 19 market but must sell at the street fair have paid their yearly stall fee and are now being restricted from using what has been paid for.

What about loyal customers, both local and out of town, who come to the market and expect their favourite vendor to be there only to be told that the Lions club and the Blossom Festival committee have restricted them from being there? This puts a lot of stress on the volunteers of the market. What kind of impression does this leave about Creston? I have already had phone calls from Alberta asking about this year’s farmers’ market. What am I supposed to tell them?

I have the right to choose at which event I will display and sell my craft, and that choice should have no bearing on decisions regarding future locations for future farmers’ markets.

As a matter of principle, I will not be attending any event sponsored by either the Blossom Festival or the Lions club on May 19.

I thought we lived in a democracy, not a dictatorship.

Anita Wellspring