CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — The Downtown Farmers Market roared back on its opening day of the season after resorting to a drive-through system in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Customers flocked to the in-person market on June 19, 2021, just as they had in years past, with relatively few indications of change.
Signs directed foot traffic to move in one direction around blocks of downtown Cedar Rapids, vendors were spaced a bit further apart and a few customers and vendors wore face masks, but otherwise, visitors still moved nearly shoulder-to-shoulder through the streets and customers queued up in non-socially distanced lines for strawberries and other popular products on the warmer than normal summer day.
Live music and other entertainment that typically attracts crowds was absent at the kickoff to the season, as part of COVID-19 safety protocols.
During a typical year, the downtown markets attract 200 vendors and 14,000 customers at each twice-monthly event, so organizers faced an overwhelming challenge to meet state COVID-19-related restrictions last spring, such as ensuring social distancing.