Sunset Market Brings Rosemary Activity



Could the Sarasota Farmers Market deliver the same sense of place to the Rosemary District as it has to Downtown Sarasota? Developers of the CitySide Apartments hope so, and worked with the downtown institution to set up an evening gathering over the next few months that could create opportunities for vendors and a new level of activity within the neighborhood. “We want to bring as much activity over into the District as possible,” says Bruce Weiner, owner of the CitySide Apartments.

The Sarasota Farmers Market organized the Rosemary Sunset Market the last two Thursdays, and plan to continue the event for the next two months. “I’ve always felt there was a need for a market in another part of the city for an alternative day,” says Phil Pagano, executive director of the Sarasota Farmers Market. The Thursday market now seeks to draw an evening crowd as well.

The inaugural event drew substantial traffic to the Rosemary neighborhood. “This has surpassed my expectations,” Josh Weiner of CitySide said in a promotional video for the market. Josh Weiner, son of Bruce Weiner, worked with Pagano over the past six months or so at setting up the evening event. 

For the development, the market represents more than just a way get fresh produce. Bruce Weiner says a future phase of construction will include retail stores on May Lane, the privately owned road where the Rosemary Sunset Market takes place. As developers widen the sidewalks there, the hope is for May Lane to become a social center within the entire Rosemary District, an area of Sarasota where city leaders have incentivized concentrated residential development.

The long-term success of the market, of course, will depend on how venders do at selling their wares, Pagano says. The Sunset Market right now has space for 35 vendors, and like the Sarasota Farmers Market downtown, it includes a mix of farmers bringing farm product, prepared food and craft goods. Pagano says certain logistical adjustments were made between the first and second week, and the market will continue to evolve. The first market, he expects, will always draw traffic from people who want to see a new event, but sustained interest will determine if the market becomes a permanent fixture.

It’s not the first time the Sarasota Farmers Market tried a mid-week market. A Wednesday mid-day market previously happened at Five Points Park downtown.

The Rosemary Sunset Market is scheduled from 5-8pm on Thursdays through April 12. The market is located on Mat Lane between Cocoanut and Florida avenues.

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