The origin of the Great Falls Original Farmer’s Market dates back to the 1970’s when Hutterite colonies sold their produce door-to-door. In the late 1970’s a handful of Colonies and local farmers started setting up by the Civic Center and thus began the unofficial Great Falls Farmer’s Market. They made it official in 1982 when they adopted bylaws and became a non-profit trade association known as the Great Falls Original Farmer’s Market.
Market started in Margaret Park on the north side of the Civic Center. When they outgrew that space they moved to Whittier Park on the south side of the Civic Center. Mike Winters, a former market manager, recalls that when he became manager in 1993 there were 35-40 vendors and when he left in 2000 there were 110 vendors. As the popularity of the Market grew so did the number of vendors so when it needed more space it expanded onto Park Drive and into the parking lot across the street known as the Downtowner Lot.
Today the Great Falls Original Farmer’s Market boasts that it is the largest farmer’s market in Montana with 135-160 vendors every Saturday and, based on visitor comments, also claims to be the best farmer’s market in the country. And the Market isn’t just about fresh veggies anymore. It has grown into the biggest family-friendly social event in Great Falls. People come from all over the world to visit our Market with its wide variety of products.
There are unique handcrafted items of all kinds, baked goods, jams, jellies, and syrups for every taste bud, ready-to-eat foods including fry bread, crepes, Chinese food, porkies-on-a-stick, and more for patrons to enjoy while they shop, entertainers of all ages scattered around the Market, featured entertainment in Whittier Park, pony rides for the kids, and prizes at every Market.
The Great Falls Farmer’s Market is open every Saturday from 7:45 am to 12:00pm from the first Saturday of June through the last Saturday of September. With an average of 135-150 vendors every week there is something for everyone. In mid-July we add a Wednesday evening Market from 4:30-6:30 pm that averages 25-30 vendors selling fresh produce, baked goods, jam and jellies, crafts, and concessions.
There’s always something fresh and fun happening at the Great Falls Original Farmer’s Market so please join us every week. You’ll be glad you did!