PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — After two and a half years, the Bay County Fairgrounds has reopened their Farmers Market in a brand new 21 thousand square foot facility.
Hurricane Michael devastated the fairgrounds in 2018, but on Monday, the farmers market opened once again, and fair managers said it’s just the start of all that’s to come at the fairgrounds.
“It’s nice to have local produce again,” said Panama City resident, Cindy Coyle, who visited the market on Monday. “I’m glad they have it back. It’s been a long time since they had it, we’ll get some more vendors out here.”
While there were only two vendors in the new building on opening day, Coyle said she would choose the farmers market over the grocery store in a heartbeat.
“There’s no comparison,” she said. “And it’s good for the local economy to have local produce here.”
That’s exactly what the Farmers Market at the Bay County Fairgrounds is all about, newly reopened two and a half years after Hurricane Michael.
“It’s a great moment for us and for the citizens of Bay County,” said Fairgrounds Board Member, Rick Paxton. “We have, really, four buildings within a building and the farmer’s market is just one piece of that.”
Fair Manager, Bob Johnson, has been working at the grounds for 21 years. He said he remembers the days after Hurricane Michael vividly.
“It would make you want to sit down and cry,” he said. “It was bad.”
Now, two and a half years later, Johnson’s smile says it all.
“Amen, look at it,” he said with a laugh. “This is all brand new.”
Paxton said they’re still working on the details for when the Bay County Fair will officially return. In the meantime, the Farmers Market will be open every week, Monday through Saturday, until August, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m..
“As more vendors are added, they’ll have a larger variety of produce that will help folks out,” Paxton said. “We also want to add arts and crafts vendors.”