Even before the sun set at Market After Dark in downtown Cedar Rapids on Saturday the streets were already crowded with music lovers, face-painted smiles and hungry food-truck patrons.
This popular downtown event, which drew an estimated 27,000 patrons last year, is celebrating its third year taking over downtown.
Doug Neumann, Executive Director of the Economic Alliance and Market After Dark said the massive event would not be possible without its many volunteers and staff.
“This is a work day for us, it’s quite an undertaking to put this on,” he said. “Certainly it’s fun and we’re having a great time but we are here very much in work mode.”
Neumann said his favorite part of the market is “everything” but he is especially fond of the food and performances.
Music could be heard from every corner of 12-block market, which spanned Third and Second avenues SE as well as Second, Third and Fifth streets SE, with the main entertainment stage at Third Street SE and Fourth Avenue SE.
Fire jugglers, human robots and bucket drummers lined the streets bringing extra entertainment to those browsing the vendor tents or waiting in line for their favorite food-truck treat
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Specially marked plastic purple cups allowed market-goers to carry beer and wine bought at beer tents and participating bars and restaurants. They were a popular accessory of the night.
Sisters Deb Weisskopf, of Oxford and Sandy Fetzer, of Marion had their own purple cups as the strolled down Third Avenue. They said they’ve come every year “for the fun.”
“It’s kind of a last blitz summer fun for the two of us,” said Fetzer.
According to Neumann, this year market organizers strived to make the event even more family-friendly and market-goers took notice, flooding Greene Square and taking advantage of the many yard games there.
Sarah Jankwietz, of Cedar Rapids was playing one of these many games with her grandson, 3-year old Cooper Gnade. She said she frequently attends the morning markets but that the evening market is her favorite.
“When I’m here with Cooper of course this is my favorite part,” she said about Greene Square. “But when I come with my husband we love the food and the performances. It’s a great atmosphere.”