LOGAN SQUARE — Get your market totes ready: Logan Square’s outdoor farmers market is back the first weekend of May.
The outdoor market will kick off 9 a.m.-3 p.m. May 8 at Logan Boulevard between Milwaukee Avenue and Whipple Street. There will be about 25 more vendors than usual, live music and more room for market-goers to roam. For a vendor list, go here.
The Logan Square Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the market, is bringing back the city’s Open Boulevards event for the first and last day of the outdoor season, organizers announced this week.
On opening day, Logan Boulevard between Milwaukee and Sacramento avenues will be closed to drivers to give the market more of a festival vibe. Service drives will remain open. The event will return for closing day, set for Oct. 30.
The chamber also announced this week there won’t be an indoor market in 2023, the market’s first winter pause in years. Market organizers need time to plan programs and fundraising efforts — “efforts put on hold since the start of the pandemic,” according to a news release.
“This pause is a tough but much-needed step in our continued pursuit to serve not only our farming network, but our business members, as well,” organizers said in a statement.
Market manager Amanda Kochan said Logan Square’s indoor market has struggled with foot traffic in recent years, especially during the pandemic.
The outdoor market attracts about 5,000 people per day, while the indoor market only draws an average of 500 people per day — and that number went down during the 2021-22 season, Kochan said.
“We did have quite a few vendors who weren’t pleased with their sales,” Kochan said.
Meanwhile, market organizers have had a difficult time finding a suitable location for the indoor market.
In past years, the indoor market was held at Emporium Logan Square and at Pierre’s Bakery, which has since been torn down to make way for a large apartment building.
Market organizers moved the operation to The Fields warehouse in 2020 only to be kicked out a couple weeks later over concerns the weekly event was siphoning business from the ground-floor grocery store Cermak Fresh Market.
After The Fields, the indoor market moved from Rockwell on the River in Avondale and then to a west Logan Square warehouse.
Prior to the pandemic, businesses and property owners were letting the chamber use their spaces for free. But the chamber had to pay rent during the pandemic, which has put a strain on the nonprofit, Kochan said.
The winter pause will give the chamber’s executive director, Nilda Esparza, and her team time to regroup and come up with a sustainable plan for the indoor market and launch programs for neighborhood businesses, like a Milwaukee Avenue sidewalk sale, Kochan said.
“The chamber wants to make sure we’re serving the community in other ways,” she said.
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