Let's not call it a gimmick, but Rolling Meadows knew it needed something special when it opened yet another suburban farmers market.
Thus the inaugural Rolling Meadows Farmers Market/Food Truck event rolled out over the Memorial Day weekend and will repeat one Saturday a month throughout the growing season.
The city hall parking lot, 3600 Kirchoff Road, will host the market and its food trucks from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the following Saturdays: June 22, July 20, Aug. 24, Sept. 28 and Oct. 26.
"I thought it was a great starting point for a growing community event," said Zach Creer, assistant city manager. "I really enjoyed how it attracted all age groups from the community. Kids don't have a lot of fun at a normal farmers market, but we have a face painter and ice cream."
The five food trucks that came from as far away as Wheaton and West Chicago sold ice cream, pancakes, grilled cheese and other sandwiches, tacos and cupcakes.
Other vendors presented farm produce, baked goods, flowers, tea, spices, organic dog treats and soap.
Many merchants sold out, said Creer, and all but one with a prior commitment plan to return for the June 22 market. Creer expects more farmers to sign on as the season progresses, and has commitments from blueberry growers and a beekeeper who sells honey.
"A couple of farmers dropped out at the last minute because it was a good planting day," he said.
Mayor Tom Rooney credited Aldermen Jim Larsen of the 7th Ward and Robert Banger Jr. of the 5th Ward with pushing for a farmers market and Creer for bringing it to fruition.
The city council saw this as a low-cost way to bring the community together, said Creer, and volunteers pitched in with face painting, parking help and to move equipment like park benches and garbage cans.
While Saturdays can be competitive for attracting farmers already established at other markets, it is a good day to find eager food truck owners, who usually travel to office buildings during the week, said Creer.
"Everybody that I saw there seemed to be very appreciative," Rooney said.