DOWNERS GROVE – Downtown Downers Grove will again transform into a beehive of activity this Saturday morning when vendors and shoppers open the Downtown Downers Grove Market for the season.
The market has grown substantially in the last 20 years from a small traditional market into a center of attention with music, cooking demonstrations and the cornucopia of food and goods vendors, among other highlights. It is jointly sponsored by the Indian Boundary YMCA and the village of Downers Grove.
"We have worked really hard to make the downtown market the destination place on a Saturday morning," Indian Boundary YMCA Executive Director Barbara Taylor said. "On top of what the market has to offer, the downtown Downers Grove businesses are pretty unique and fun to visit also."
The market is open from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays from May 11 to Oct. 19 at the Downers Grove Main Street Train Station's south parking lot off Burlington Avenue.
On the busiest Saturdays last year, the market sees more than 3,400 visitors, according to Taylor, helping the market earn the third ranking in West Suburban Living's "Best of the West" farmer's market list.
"I think that's clearly an indication of it's not the same old, same old," she said. "We really have tried to bring in a variety of vendors."
Taylor said the market board is working on a Facebook page that will be up before the opening of the market this Saturday. It will show which vendors are selling goods, and what other special events and activities will be happening at the market on any given weekend.
New items offered by vendors this summer include Sno Cones, toffee, gluten-free and vegan baked goods, nuts and granola.
In addition to buying produce and other uncooked ingredients, shoppers can come hungry for a meal – prepared foods include breakfast sandwiches, pizza, calzones, donuts, popcorn, cookies, scones, smoothies, cup cakes, pretzels and lemon shake-ups.
Taylor said the market only accepts local vendors, and does not let larger, online companies come in to set up a table.
"People feel pretty good about buying local fruits and vegetables, and knowing that the baked products are baked here," she said.
Non-food vendors offering jewelry, children's clothing, handbags, art and other items also have tables. Volunteers from the YMCA staff the market, and proceeds from vendor fees go to help low-income families through YMCA programming.