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Iowa City cancels Wednesday farmers market for 2022 season
Not enough vendors signed up before February deadline
IOWA CITY — Iowa City’s Wednesday evening farmers market is canceled “for at least the 2022 season.”
Brad Barker, the city’s recreation superintendent, said he sent word Thursday afternoon to all vendors informing them of the decision.
“After much consideration, the Iowa City Parks and Recreation Department has made the difficult decision to cancel the Wednesday Farmers Market for at least the 2022 season,” the message to vendors said.
Vendors were asked to register and commit to the 2022 season by Feb. 15. A total of 15 full-season vendors were needed but only 11 registered, according to the message.
“Those that participated in the 2021 Wednesday Farmers Market season know firsthand of the drop in both customers and vendors,” the message read. “While that may be due in part to the pandemic, those numbers had been declining in the years prior as well.”
Juli Seydell Johnson, the city’s Parks and Recreation director, told The Gazette the Wednesday evening market “has seen a steady decline in vendors over the last 10 years.” For many years, Seydell Johnson said, the Wednesday market had 55 stalls with vendors.
The message outlined promotions the city has tried to increase attendance at the Wednesday evening market, including incentives for new vendors and increased marketing efforts, but attendance “continued to diminish.”
“We sincerely appreciate the vendors that have been regular participants in the Wednesday night markets and the public that stopped by to support these vendors,” the message said.
Wednesday vendors who paid to register in advance will receive a full reimbursement.
The Saturday farmers markets will continue as planned. The Iowa City Farmers Market began in August 1972 with vendors selling on Saturday mornings. The Wednesday evening market began five years later in 1977, Seydell Johnson said.
The Saturday markets run from 7:30 a.m. to noon starting in May through October at the Chauncey Swan parking ramp on East Washington Street.
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