ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) – Another Rockford Outdoor City Market has come to a close.
Friday evening gave vendors, and visitors, a last taste of summer before settling in for the fall. After several different disruptions impacted last year’s season, this summer reportedly felt like a return to normal for many market visitors and participants. They said it was good to get back into the swing of things, while also feeling bittersweet that the season is ending.
“It is awesome to see just huge crowds out here again, and it has been that way pretty much all summer,” said Tanner Taylor, the owner of Unstated Apparel. “Big crowds every week.”
The market was able to wrap up it’s 2021 outdoor season be drawing in hundreds of visitors once again. Locals said that they wanted to check out all of their favorite venders for the final time this year, and for some, the first.
“Actually, this is my first time coming out,” said Ronnie Corbitt, an attendee of the market. “I always had to work, so this is the last one and I was off today, and I said ‘I got to get down there.’ I got to get down and do at least this last one.”
Corbitt said that the city market is one of his favorite Rockford traditions, and that it was great to be back after the pandemic put a bit of a damper on the festivities in 2020.
“There is a lot more people getting out now, just from being cooped up all during that time,” Corbitt said. “So, it is a lot more people than I thought it would be.”
Judy Johnson, the owner of Quixotic Bakery, has been selling her baked goods at the market for the past five years. She said that expanding down State St. has had a positive impact for vendors.
“It was a good market season I think. It did not feel as crowded, because the footprint is bigger, but I think the numbers were pretty good this year, and sales-wise, we did pretty well,” Johnson said. “I think it gives people a little more room to spread out, it gives us a little more room for growth. I always kind of thought we were landlocked for the last few years, and prior to COVID.”
Vendor Tanner Taylor, the owner of Unstated Apparel, said that the new look of the market led to a banner year for his business, and he hopes that the changes will stick moving forward.
“This has been the best summer we have ever had,” Taylor said. “Even with other markets we have done in the past, this been by far the best we have had.”
Local shoppers will still have an opportunity to get their market fix at the North End City Market for the next few weeks. It is being held as the corner of North Main and Auburn St. on Saturday mornings, and will run through mid-October.