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Featured Image: Out on a date at the Sunday Farmers Market in March 2020, Shannon Quayle and Andy De La Cruz decide which succulents to purchase. The weekly Farmers Market is expected to return to the sidewalk along Avenida Del Mar by November’s end. Photo: Shawn Raymundo

By C. Jayden Smith

As the City of San Clemente moves further away from the peak stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the weekly Sunday Farmers Market in downtown will be transitioned back to the sidewalk along Avenida Del Mar.

At the recommendation of San Clemente city staff, the farmers market is expected to return to the 200 block of Avenida Del Mar by the month’s end, after more than two and half years of operating at the shared parking lot of the San Clemente Community Center and public library.

“I’m happy to see it go back to Del Mar for the visibility and success of all the vendors,” said Councilmember Laura Ferguson during the City Council’s Nov. 1 meeting.

City staff and market operator Rick Heill initially moved the weekly market into the Community Center parking lot to reduce close contact, monitor attendance, and meet the California Department of Public Health’s guidelines at the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

The use of outdoor dining decks on Del Mar into 2021 prevented the market from being able to use its full footprint, until Mayor Gene James advocated for staff to review returning the market to Del Mar in September.

The market may still use the upper portion of the shared parking lot, if necessary, to accommodate vendors, as two outdoor dining decks on Del Mar reduce the amount of street space available.

“I appreciate (that) you took into account circulation for the sidewalks and all of that, so I’m pleased that you figured out a way that it could happen,” Councilmember Kathy Ward told Samantha Wylie, director of the city’s Beaches, Parks & Recreation Department.

Staff recommended that the market return to Del Mar no later than Sunday, Nov. 20, according to the staff report.

C. Jayden Smith

C. Jayden Smith graduated from Dana Hills High in 2018 before pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in digital and broadcast journalism from the University of North Texas. After graduating in December 2020, he reported for the Salina Journal in Salina, Kansas. Jayden loves college football and bothering his black lab named Shadow.

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