Nighttime farmers markets have been spicing up the local food scene throughout the U.S. for several years and are now making their way to Eastern Iowa.
The Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance will host its first-ever Market After Dark from 7:30 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015. The market is in addition to the regular Downtown Farmers Market, two of which remain this season.
Touted as a way to “shop and sip under the stars” in Nashville and the time “when the real party begins” in Dallas, the markets build on the popularity of fresh, local foods, with the addition of adult beverages amid a festival atmosphere.
The Downtown Farmers Market in Cedar Rapids patterned its “Market After Dark” on the success of other nighttime markets, Jill Wilkins, events planner for the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, said when the announcement was made.
Wilkins said the night market offers opportunities for festival lighting, a synergy with the downtown night life and other options that make it a perfect fit to celebrate the Downtown Market’s 10th anniversary this year.
Launched as a pilot project in 2006, the Downtown Market is now the largest farmers market in Eastern Iowa, averaging 14,000 visitors per market. More than 200 vendors fill the downtown streets during the markets that are held twice-monthly, with regular hours of 7:30 a.m. to noon. The last two of the regular markets this season will be Sept. 5 and 19.
Fewer vendors will be on hand for the Market After Dark, but crowds are still expected to fill the streets of downtown Cedar Rapids. Look for “extras” that you won’t normally find, such as Lion Bridge Brewing’s Farmers’ Market 10th Anniversary Brew, called Cucumber Saison.
If large-scale farmers markets aren’t your thing, you can find more than 50 markets in Eastern Iowa on the Homegrown list. Read on for more from the Economic Alliance about the Market After Dark:
To celebrate our 10th anniversary season, we’re holding the first-ever Downtown Farmers’ Market: After Dark! This event is one you won’t want to miss, with great food, shopping, entertainment, and some surprises along the way. We’re sure you have never seen anything like this in Cedar Rapids before!
The Farmers’ Market: After Dark will feature approximately 80 vendors, some of them familiar from the morning markets and some new faces as well. Produce, prepared food, artisans and other unique finds will be available from 7:30 p.m. until midnight.
The Economic Alliance will partner with the Cedar Rapids Jaycees, Fareway and 7G Distributing to provide local brews, wine and non-alcoholic beverages at the event. Patrons are encouraged to also step into the local bars and restaurants open downtown.
Expect a great show from our main stage entertainment! Starting at 7:30 p.m. we’ll feature Irish Jam, and at 9:30 p.m. Alisabeth Von Presley will take over and rock the streets until 11:30 p.m. In addition to the main stage performers, a variety of other acts will be featured throughout the market venue.
This event is made possible with the help of our Presenting Sponsor, ITC Midwest.