Cedar Rapids Downtown Farmers Market will be drive-through for the rest of the season

The Morning Glory CSA food truck serves customers at the Cedar Rapids Farmers Market, Saturday, July 20, 2019. — Helaina Thompson/Little Village

The Cedar Rapids Downtown Farmers Market market kicked off its 15th season this month with two drive-through markets. When the plans were announced in May, the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance said they will “continue to evaluate options and make decisions based on public health guidelines for the remainder of the 2020 market season.”

That decision was announced on Tuesday — the rest of the markets scheduled for the summer will be drive-through markets. The Economic Alliance also announced that this year’s Market After Dark, which was scheduled for Aug. 22, is canceled.

While public health guidelines do allow gatherings of more than 10 people, event organizers are expected to ensure at least six feet of distance between each group, which did not seem possible for the farmers markets.

“A typical Downtown Farmers Market sees about 14,000 attendees and Market After Dark saw 50,000 people last year,” Ellie Evans, events planner for the Economic Alliance said in a news release. “Ensuring social distancing with large-scale community events like a traditional Downtown Farmers Market and Market After Dark would be near impossible. Our top priority is the health and safety of attendees, volunteers and vendors, and our decision reflects that.”

The first drive-through market on June 6 had 430 cars come through and 1,400 items were purchased, according to the news release.

The remaining farmers market dates are June 20, July 4, July 18, Aug. 1, Aug. 15, Sept. 5 and Sept. 19. The June market will run from 7:30 a.m. to noon. The rest of the markets, beginning with the one on July 4, will run from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

The July 4 market (and the following dates) will have expanded items to choose from, since all types of market vendors are now allowed to sell. Previous public health guidelines did not allow vendors with nonfood items, such as artisan gifts and crafts, to sell their items are farmers markets. The June 20 farmers market will have farm products and food only.

In order to purchase items from the various vendors, customers place an order on the Cedar Rapids Area Shop Where I Live website. Online ordering opens the day of the previous market and closes the Thursday before the market at 6 p.m.

A map with vendors and instructions on how to drive through the market is available online.

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