History of the San Luis Obispo Farmers' Market
In the late 70's and early 80's businesses would stay open late on Thursday nights to give people a chance to shop later than 5:00 p.m. Downtown was popular on Thursday nights so teens began cruising down Higuera Street, the "main drag.” This, in turn, deterred people from coming to shop on Thursday nights. The merchants wanted help from the Downtown Association to stop what was going on. The Downtown Association decided to barricade six blocks of Higuera on Thursday nights so people could still shop late. Now the trick was getting people to come back on Thursday nights!
On the late shopping night, the Downtown Association began arranging for special activities and entertainment on Higuera Street. Downtown restaurants came out to offer food and to barbecue ribs. This all began in early 1983. That summer the farmers were invited to sell their produce; hence the beginning of Farmers' Market. Because the event is sponsored by the Downtown Association, only Downtown Association members and non-profit organizations were eligible to participate. In July of 2006 the Market opened up to non members allowing them to participate at a cost of $80 per night. A committee meets second and fourth Wednesday mornings (see TNP committee under committee section) to discuss all applications and to manage the event.
Thursday Night Promotions (also called Farmers' Market) are very popular. It is a year-round event, and the summer months draw large crowds to the Downtown Association district. From September through June the Downtown Association sponsors various special events at the market. Thursday nights are so successful and well run that cities from all over the country visit San Luis Obispo to see how it is done!
For more information about Thursday Night Promotions please call the Downtown Association office (805) 541-0286 and talk to the Farmers' Market Coordinator.