Knoxville Market Square Farmers Market opens for the season on Saturday, May 6, 2017.

Thousands of people from around the East Tennessee area gathered in Market Square and Krutch Park on Saturday to take part in the first weekend event of the 14th annual Market Square Farmers’ Market. Crowds and vendors alike braved the cold wind and rain to kick off downtown Knoxville’s farmers market season.

The biweekly farmers market, organized by Nourish Knoxville, brings more than 200 vendors to downtown Knoxville from May through November. According to Nourish Knoxville Assistant Director Ellie Moore, turnout for the first weekend farmers market is always higher than expected, part because of the long winter.

“People are excited to be back, to get outside, to see their friends and the vendors that they go to,” Moore said. “Being down here on Market Square, just the vibe, the dogs, the businesses that surround the farmers market, they all get in on this.”

For Ricky Bailey, of Old Bailey Farms in Lenoir City, the farmers market is the best way to grow his business and connect with vendors and visitors. He joked that he would never see so many people at his home in Lenoir City.

“This is the way I make my living,” Bailey said. “It’s a whole lot easier to come up here, because a lot of times we’ll see 4,000 or 5,000 people come through here. At my house, I’m not…