Extrapolation of latest figure shows event drives about 800,000 visitors a year to downtown
Attendance at the downtown Sarasota Farmers Market is up 31% from a count taken five years ago, Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin has reported.
“We’re not imagining the popularity of the Farmers Market held each Saturday morning in the heart of downtown!” Barwin wrote in his March 8 newsletter.
On Feb. 23, Barwin continued, an estimated 16,340 people attended the market, compared to the estimated count of 12,424 on Feb. 1, 2014. “That’s an increase of nearly 4,000 people,” he pointed out.
After extrapolating the numbers, Barwin wrote, it appears the market “drives approximately 800,000 visitors to our downtown per year. Once downtown, many of those individuals stay for lunch at one of the many popular eateries and extend their shopping past the Farmers Market,” he continued. Additionally, he noted, “The count showed that the Market and Whole Foods continue to have a strong symbiotic relationship with customers.”
The count was conducted by Phyllis and Roger Barry of Barry Consulting in Sarasota, Barwin wrote. Phyllis Barry earned a doctorate in adult learning and development and survey research, Barwin added, while Roger Barry earned a doctorate in economic geography and is an emeritus professor of urban planning.
The market was established in 1979, its website says. It is open year-round, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, the website notes.