The Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance opens the 17th season of the Cedar Rapids Downtown Farmers Market presented by Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust (CRBT) on Saturday, May 28, and will feature over 150 vendors in the heart of downtown Cedar Rapids.
According to a news release, this year the market is returning to the regular season with eight markets scheduled from May through September. The first market kicks off Memorial Day Weekend, May 28, with market season concluding on September 17. All markets run from 7:30 a.m. to noon.
Additionally, this year, the Cedar Rapids Downtown Farmers Market will offer a fall market on September 17. According to the release, this is in response to attendee and vendor feedback from previous years.
Entertainment is also coming back to all the markets as live performances will be held in Greene Square and throughout the venue.
“We are thrilled to have entertainment again at our Farmers Market! There will be magicians, street performers, face painting and balloon animals,” said Maddix Stovie, Events Planner at the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, in the release. “We are excited for our ‘new normal’ and eager to get back to all the fun festivities that the Farmers Market offers.”
This season the market venue will have vendors located on 2nd Avenue SE, 3rd Avenue SE and 4th Avenue SE between 2nd Street SE and 5th Street SE.
A list of participating vendors and an online vendor map can be found at crdowntownmarket.com will show specific vendor locations. Downtown parking options will also be listed on the website.
Cyclists can park and lock their bikes at the Bike Valet for free at 3rd Ave. and Cedar River Trail at Greene Square. The Bike Valet is a collaborative effort with the Linn County Trails Association.
According to the release, the Cedar Rapids Downtown Farmers Market information booth will be located by Greene Square, on the corner of 3rd Avenue SE and 5th Street SE. New this year, Cedar Rapids Downtown Farmers Market tumblers will be available to purchase as well as tote bags.
Shoppers will have the option to buy a tumbler/tote bag bundle at the information booth.
This season will continue the market’s partnership with local organizations to bring greater accessibility to local goods and produce. SNAP, WIC, and Senior Vouchers will be accepted by most vendors during the market season.
In previous years, Home Run For Hunger, the alliance between the Cedar Rapids Downtown Farmers Market, HACAP, First Federal Credit Union and the Cedar Rapids Kernels was awarded ‘Best Partnership’ by the Eastern Iowa Freedom from Hunger.
According to the release, this collaboration will continue.
Volunteers will walk each market after the closing bell to gather food donations from vendors. These volunteers will load the food onto the HACAP Mobile Pantry and the donated food will be delivered to food pantries in Linn and surrounding counties. Market patrons will have the opportunity to purchase goods and produce from market vendors and donate to the cause via a box at the Information Booth.
The Cedar Rapids Downtown Farmers Market is produced by the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance and presented by Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust.
“CRBT is extremely proud to have supported the Cedar Rapids Downtown Farmers Market since its inception, and to have served as the Presenting Sponsor for the past ten years,” said James Klein, President, Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust, in the release. “We look forward to another great summer of our community supporting local vendors and experiencing all that downtown Cedar Rapids has to offer.”
The June 4 market Day Sponsor is the City of Cedar Rapids. In conjunction with that market, the City will offer a number of activities as part of their Residents Appreciation Day.
The July 16 market Day Sponsor is Alliant Energy who will be on site talking all things renewable energy.
The September 17 market Day Sponsor is Quaker Oats/Pepsico who will be handing out their popular $10 grab bags filled with $35 worth of Quaker Oats’ products.
The list of all market dates includes May 28, June 4, June 18, July 2, July 16, August 6, August 20, and September 17. The highly anticipated Market After Dark is scheduled for August 27.