Business was brisk at the Pekin Farmers Market Wednesday as vendors showed their wares and people gobbled down food off the grill and baked goods from the oven.
“We have a large variety of vendors,” said Courtney Psinas, Downtown Events coordinator for the city of Pekin. “We will be adding as well next week, even more vendors.
“We had some people today with the weather, cancel. You can come here, do your grocery shopping, eat your lunch and have a little nice treat as well.”
The farmers market will run every Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. from May 30 to Oct. 17. It is sponsored by UnityPoint Health. Each event will feature a food truck and ready-to-eat foods such as baked goods and canned goods, fruits, vegetables, flowers, coffee, crafts and much more. A live band will play at each event.
The farmers market was previously a Pekin Main Street event and was discontinued a few years ago when Pekin Main Street discontinued the events business. The city picked up the event and made some changes to make it more successful.
“We really noticed that people wanted the farmers market back,” said Psinas. “So we thought that was a void we needed to fill.
“We decided to do a few things different this year. We’re going to do a downtown lunchtime market, because we’re really trying to engage the downtown business district, (Tazewell) County, (Pekin) City Hall to encourage them to come out on their lunch break and enjoy the food truck and get people down into downtown, not only for the farmers market, but to see all the businesses and all of the revitalization we’ve been doing.”
Psinas said the downtown can sustain the market.
“I definitely think our downtown has evolved and it’s a reflection on Pekin,” she said. “I think it’s one of our best assets.
“We’re seeing so many of those vacant buildings being filled and not only being filled, being supported as well. So I’m excited by the farmers market to get more traffic downtown to support our local businesses.”
City Manager Tony Carson brought the farmers market back. He had organized similar farmers markets in other municipalities in which he had worked.
“I’m very happy with the crowds,” said Carson. “By 11 o’clock, people were here and they were buying a lot of stuff.
“That’s the key, that they’re going to the vendors for things they like, to get something to eat. People are taking advantage of the food trucks and the picnic tables, and that’s what we’re trying to accomplish.”
Carson said they will make space for additional vendors if there are others who wish to come to the market.
Cassie Lannert said she plans to come to the market every week.
“The foods been good,” she said. “It’s delicious — my 5-year-old just finished half a sandwich in five seconds.
“I know some of them had to cancel because of the weather, but it’s a good turnout for the first week for sure. I’ve been excited for this ever since I heard it was happening.”
Downtown Pekin will host the Summer Kick Off starting at 4:30 p.m. Friday with food and drinks in the 500 block of Court Street. Joe Stamm and Dave Glover will perform starting at 6 p.m.