Rockford City Market on hold, vendors express their frustrations

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — For many Forest City residents the start of the weekend begins with a stop at Rockford City Market, but this weekend’s event has been cancelled.

Rockford City Market organizers said the aggressive, disruptive protestors that continue to show up at the city market caused them to close up shop this weekend.

“For the safety of myself and my business I was in full agreement that the market be canceled,” Jerk Jammin Grill Owner, Renee Radway said.

Renee and Andre Radway own Jerk Jammin Grill. They said City Market is one of the main locations they fire up the grill.

“After last week I was afraid too, should we even go, should we keep going? We do Nicholas Conservatory Food Truck Tuesdays and we have no problem like that.
This particular person is targeting City Market,” Radway said. “That is like their biggest, that’s what their doing they’re targeting City Market, they want to shut the market down like it’s their purpose.”

After many hurdles this year, Radway said cancelling City Market isn’t ideal, but she understands why.

“With the protesters becoming a little more aggressive, especially with last week, the things that we witnessed going on,” she said. “The protesters became increasingly loud and then they started to spit at the cops.”

Other food truck owners said they’ve experienced similar scenarios.

“There’s several times my staff got yelled at for no apparent reason, cursed at, so it’s been frustrating,” said Paul Sletten, Owner of Disco Chicken Food Truck. “I think the city market was always intended to be a neighborhood thing, it’s always meant to be like a block party, everyone comes down…everybody, anybody.”

Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara said he’s working with the Rockford Park District so that vendors won’t be impacted any further. Plans may include closing the Joe Marino Park and the Millennial Fountain Park.

“They’re dealing with this small group of individuals who have shown us through their past, poor behavior, in most recently with their dramatic increased violent rhetoric that they almost want to incite violence in our community. That’s not acceptable,” McNamara said. “It is absolutely a shame that these small, and I would even say micro businesses will lose out on revenue.”

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