BRADENTON -- Many came out to Old Main Street on Saturday for the return of the downtown farmers market to buy fresh produce, food, crafts or to listen to music.
For some, like Joanne Chmielewski, 46, it was her first time at the farmers market.
"I think this is an absolutely fantastic event," Chmielewski said. "The location is fantastic, it is just so beautiful."
The Bradenton resident was enjoying fresh roasted peanuts as she strolled along Old Main to see what else the market had to offer.
"The hours are also great," Chmielewski said. "It's open until 2 for those that like to sleep in on a Saturday, but it's also open early."
Chmielewski really enjoyed the vibe at the farmer's market.
"Everybody is just so friendly, relaxed," Chmielewski said. "It doesn't get any better than this."
Many farmers weren't at the season opening of the farmers market as a result of damage to their crops caused by last month's heavy rain, according to John Matthews of the Suncoast Food Alliance.
"It has set people back, I have one farmer that lost everything," Matthews said. "It will probably be November before we see everyone."
Suncoast Food Alliance works together with Realize Bradenton to put on the weekly event from October through the end of May. Saturday's market featured about 30 vendors, but organizers hope that those numbers will increase further into the season.
"We are looking for a certain type of vendor, food oriented," Matthews said. "Our goal is to get the fresh food to the people as quick as possible."
Marc and Lauri Mailoux were happy for the return of the farmers market.
"We've been here a few times before," said Lauri Mailoux, who likes to buy her produce at the market. "Usually there is always good stuff."
The 40-year residents were enjoying the good weather and the performance of local singer and guitarist Sam Woolf. Lauri Mailoux was excited to hear that Woolf, from Lakewood Ranch, is a contestant on the upcoming season of "American Idol."
One change that Marc Mailoux was happy about at this year's market was that there were fewer vendors with generators.
"Noise pollution is a problem," Marc Mailoux said. "You want people to stay."
He said he was happy to see bars and restaurants filling up along Old Main, a sign of commerce building in the area.
Vendors were also happy with the outcome of the farmers market's return. For professional knife sharpener Gene Tenery, this season is his third at the farmers market.
"You can tell bossiness has picked up," Tenery said. "This opening day we are as busy as we were opening day last year."
Jessica De Leon, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can also follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.