Redmond Saturday Market to begin May 7; opening day festivities include ribbon cutting and music from Zimbabwe and southern Africa

On May 7, vendors selling produce, arts and crafts and other goods will set up shop to peddle their wares at the Redmond Saturday Market, now in its 36th year.

On May 7, vendors selling produce, arts and crafts and other goods will set up shop to peddle their wares at the Redmond Saturday Market, now in its 36th year.

The market will be open next Saturday through Oct. 29 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Opening day festivities include a ribbon cutting by Redmond Mayor John Marchione, featuring the Redmond High School Pep Band at 9 a.m., live music from noon to 2 p.m. by Anzanga Marimba Ensemble, a Seattle band that plays music of Zimbabwe and southern Africa and hands-on activities for kids with KidsQuest Children’s Museum from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Baby alpacas will be present all day along with the Redmond Historical Society.

According to its website (, the market was founded by Georgia Erskine in 1976 and moved locations three times before settling in its current location at 7730 Leary Way N.E. But the location isn’t the only thing about the market that has changed throughout the years. What began as a small, local farmers market has now become a community-wide event with vendors from all over Washington. This year, there are 12 new vendors, bringing the total number to about 125.

“It’s always been a good market,” said market manager Martha Tyler. “Now it’s a great market.”

In addition to being market manager for the past three years, Tyler has also been a vendor with the market for 19 years. She said in the almost two decades that she has been with the market, she has seen it grown tremendously — not only in terms of vendors, but also as an event as a whole. In addition to a variety of vendors and food stands, the Saturday Market offers live entertainment on a weekly basis and numerous theme days such as Hawaiian Day and Cowboy Day.

Tyler said what she loves most about the market is getting to know the people.

“We are a family,” she said about her fellow vendors.

Tyler added that all the vendors are Washingtonians coming from the Eastside and Seattle to Bellingham and eastern Washington and everywhere in between. It is written in the market’s by-laws that everything sold must be made, grown and manufactured in Washington. Although this stipulation was written 36 years ago, Tyler said it still holds great, if not more significance today.

“It’s just so important to buy local,” she said.

Nirvan Hope is one of those local vendors. Although she doesn’t have to make a four-hour drive across the Cascades to sell her photography, Hope’s trip from Tacoma still takes about an hour.

Redmond posterThis year is her 12th year as a vendor with the market. She began by selling art — mostly acrylics and inks — but as her focus shifted toward photography, so did her goods. Her work caught Tyler’s eye and the market manager suggested that Hope try creating a poster for the market.

Hope thought this was a good idea since the project would challenge her as an artist.

“I only do nature shots,” she explained.

Hope said she got inspiration from the market itself and it shows in the final product. The poster (left) features fresh produce as well as scenes from the market. Hope said some of the photos she used were just ones she’d casually snapped throughout last summer, but most were taken at the end of the summer specifically for the poster.

It is not surprising that Hope’s poster was inspired by the market. She said in addition to the people, she loves the quality produce and arts and crafts available at the market. When she is not busy running her stand, Hope is also a market customer.

“I’ll buy things at the market,” she said.

Tyler said just as they have returning vendors, they have returning customers.

“We have regular customers who wait for the market to open,” she said. “We have some really dedicated shoppers. They come rain or shine.”