Elgin Farmers Market draws more shoppers, vendors than in 2020
The 21st season of the Elgin Farmers Market brought more shoppers and more vendors downtown than in 2020, according to the Downtown Neighborhood Association's end-of-season report.
The association organizes the market that operated on Spring Street for 19 Fridays between June and November. One scheduled week was rained out.
According to the report, 15,716 people visited the market in 2021, 1,825 more than they reported in 2020. Forty vendors total participated this year, with an average of 26 vendors per week. Thirty-one vendors total participated in 2020, with an average of 22 per week.
Executive Director Jennifer Fukala said the success of the market helps nearby downtown businesses.
"In a year when businesses are trying to recover, I'm glad that we were able to bring that economic activity to downtown Elgin," Fukala said.
The market introduced "Sip and Shop" this season, with Side Street Studio Arts serving alcohol that could be consumed within the market's perimeter. Tim Brown of Broadview Farm and Gardens from Marengo said he liked the new feature.
"I think it helped the atmosphere," said Brown, a return vendor at the market. "People seemed to be having a good time, lingering and shopping."
The association estimates the total economic impact of the market on the downtown was over $902,000 for the season. Sixty-one precent of market-goers surveyed said they engaged in other downtown Elgin activities when visiting the market.
Fukala said a new question on the annual shopper survey asked them how much money they spent at the market and downtown businesses. On average, market-goers spent $57.41.
The market hosted live entertainment and an interactive drum circle held in partnership with local nonprofit Poiema Studio. Food was the big seller, with bread and baked goods, produce, beverages and chocolate and sweets accounting for the highest percentage of sales. Other offerings from vendors included meats and eggs, sauces, handmade art and jewelry, homemade bags and woven items, leather goods, body care and health and wellness vendors and knife sharpening.
Fukala said the search is on to add more to next year's lineup.
"We're excited that we have some great local farmers and vendors that have been with us a long time, and we want to add to that group next year," she said. "We're going to see who's out there producing great product in the Elgin area."