ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) – One of Rockford’s most popular, and well-attended summer events makes adjustments as temperatures rise. The question is, has the weather changed the number of people expected to show up?
“We want to support the local vendors, the local people, be a sense of community. That’s really important to us,” said long-time City Market attendee, Greg Campbell.
Residents battled a heat index of over 100 degrees to attend Rockford City Market Friday. Organizers say the forecast presented problems.
“A few challenges when you run an outdoor venue, like we do,” said Rockford City Market Manager, Cathy McDermott. “As far as, like, preparing food and making sure that the vendors don’t get too overheated.”
As a result, vendors were given a choice on whether or not to attend.
“Over half of them did decide to come, and we were able to accommodate them outside under the pavilion, and then inside in our new market hall,” said McDermott. “So, it’s a great opportunity to use that.”
McDermott says the Indoor Market, which opened this spring, has helped.
“[It] allows people to come inside during the the market and get a little break from the heat. Use an indoor restroom. Grab a beverage,” said McDermott. “so, it’s really a great addition to our footprint outside to have this indoor space.”
Indoor City Market is also home to two permanent shops that are open five days a week.
“I think people do come in, out of the heat,” said Ronit’s Kitchen owner, Ronit Golan. “We have a lot of refreshing salads, so, it cools you down a little bit, and the air conditioning is working in here, so that’s great!”
Greg Campbell and his wife were looking forward to checking it out.
“We haven’t been in there yet, but we’re planning on doing that next, and seeing what it’s like,” said Campbell.
Market organizers have dealt with several weather issues this summer, including rain early in the year, but McDermott says attendance is ahead of last year at this time.
“Weather always effects our attendance, and if it’s too hot, or rainy, it definitely has an impact,” said McDermott. “But, we find that it’s a little bit better having this indoor space, that people can come in and out of throughout the night.”
Rockford City Market runs through September 27th.