Pavilions: Permanent Farmers’ Market Infrastructure

Three farmers’ markets in Maine have permanent pavilions: Augusta (built in 2012), Presque Isle (built in 2016) and Madawaska  (built in 2018). The Augusta Farmers’ Market at Mill Park and the Presque Isle Farmers’ Market at Riverside are both located in in-town parks, and the Madawaska structure is in a busy retail area in the town.

Benefits of permanent structures:

  • A permanent structure is a constant reminder to the community about the farmers’ market.
  • The building provides shelter from sun and precipitation, and can withstand the wind and downpours that pop-up tents cannot.

    The pavilion in Mill Part in Augusta is built in a flood plain of the Kennebec River. It’s a lovely, flat space for a park and parking lot, but the location meant that the electrical outlets had to be placed very high in the structure, and the portable bathrooms must be removed whenever there is a risk of flood.
  • Lights installed in the ceiling make late afternoon markets in the fall easier to navigate.
  • Pavilions typically have built-in electricity.
  • The structure can be used for other activities on non-market days, such as concerts and family events.
  • Paved substrate reduces dust.
  • If a storage shed is included,

Disadvantages of permanent structures:

  • Costs can be prohibitive, including land purchase, site preparation, and construction. Public-private partnerships can help mitigate these costs, but take time to build.
  • Farmers prefer to set up around the edges of the pavilion (for drive-up access), which can leave a “dead zone” in the middle.
  • The market layout is less flexible than when popup tents are used.
  • Many vendors will likely still need popup tents for extra protection, whether they are on the sunny edge of the space, or under a waterfall off the roof on a rainy day.
  • Anticipate increased insurance costs: Every market requires liability insurance, but adding a permanent structure adds property insurance costs.


Related links


Like the Augusta structure, the Presque Isle pavilion in Riverside Park is located in a public park beside the river. With a downtown location, ample parking, and nearby attractions (community center and playground), the location has many outstanding features, but lacks visibility from the main roads.


The Madawaska pavilion is located downtown in a commercial area. The structure has high visibility and a permanent sign.
The Madawaska pavilion is located downtown in a commercial area. The structure has high visibility and a permanent sign. This picture illustrates one challenge of a pavilion: despite the solid roof, sun and rain will still fall on much of the covered area. Vendors will need to plan additional protection (such as pop up tents).