Sunday, June 16, 2024

'Slammed' on opening day

Staff Writer | May 16, 2024 1:08 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — Everybody, it seemed, was hungry for hamburgers at the opening day of the Fifth Street Farmers Market on Wednesday.

“It’s not even tourist season yet and we’re this slammed,” said Daniel Lee, owner of Everybody Burger, as he flipped sizzling patties and slapped a slice of cheese on top of each one.

Customers new and old stopped by for a Double Smash burger for $10, a Ranch Crunch for $11 or a Sweet Surrender, also $11.

Lee was glad to be busy.

“We love it here,” he said.

Hundreds turned out for the first day of the market organized by the Coeur d’Alene Downtown Association on a warm afternoon. 

Tanden and Nichole Launder, event directors, were pleased with opening day. They said the camaraderie among the nearly 70 vendors gave the market a spirited, fun atmosphere. 

“It way exceeded our expectations,” Tanden Launder said. 

“Everyone saw the success of last year,” Nichole Launder added. "They want to be part of it."

The Kootenai County Farmers' Market also held its opening day Wednesday at Riverstone and enjoyed a big crowd, as well. Vendors lined a packed Main Street and had strong sales.

Farm fresh eggs, flowers, art, handmade crafts, plants, honey, pastries and live music were among the offerings at both markets. Each will run weekly 4-7 p.m. Wednesdays through September.  

For nearly two decades, the Kootenai County Farmers’ Market Association held a market on Fifth Street on Wednesdays, as it partnered with the Coeur d'Alene Downtown Association, until they parted ways last year.

The Downtown Association took over the downtown market and hired a director, and the Kootenai County Farmers' Market Association found a new home at Riverstone.

While the split caused some friction then, Tanden Launder believes everyone is happy with how things turned out. He expects both markets to do well and have strong followings.

“I think everyone feels like there’s room for two markets,” he said.

Tony Brown, owner of The Vagabond Soundtrack, was offering vintage clothing, including cowboy hats and shorts. 

It’s his second season at the Fifth Street market and he said this year’s opening day was much stronger than last year’s.

“This is amazing,” Brown said. “The word is out.”

Rebecca Paliotto, owner of The Sugaree, was whipping up cotton candy. She liked the energy of the crowd.

“A happy kickoff for summer,” she said. 

The Kootenai County Farmers' Market also sets up shop from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturdays at the corner of U.S. 95 and Prairie in Hayden.

    People pass by hats offer by Tony Brown at the Fifth Street Farmers Market on Wednesday.
    Rebecca Paliotto, owner of The Sugaree, whips up cotton candy at the farmers market on Wednesday.

    Tanden Launder chats on the phone amidst the rush of the crowd at the Fifth Street Farmers Market on Wednesday.