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New downtown Joliet farmer's market gets underway for the season

The Joliet City Center Partnership kicked off the summer season June 8 with the opening day of its new farmer’s market to a crowd in downtown Joliet.

Highlights of this year’s market are activities for children, live music and local breweries, as well as a policy mandating that sale items must be homegrown or homemade.

Also new to the event, Chicago Street Pub & Grill in Joliet provided brews for patrons to drink as they shopped.

Sarah Strickland, marketing and events manager for the Joliet City Center Partnership, said the goal in launching this year’s farmer’s market is to help the public recognize that it’s under new management.

“We are holding a ribbon cutting to signify our new approach,” she said.

In the past, the weekly shopping event was offered on Fridays.

Strickland said the hope is that people will come out and join them this year.

“We’ve got a little bit for everyone—catering to all ages,” she said.

Debbie Webb Velensky, owner of Allium Sage Botanics, was one of many vendors setting up shop at the farmers market opening day. She’s been in business for about 3 years.

“My daughter had really sensitive skin and she broke out using [traditional bath products],” she said. “I started doing everything all natural and [the business] just grew from there.”

As part of her business, Webb Velensky does custom facemasks and grows her own herb-based skincare products. This year was her first time holding a booth at the farmer’s market in Joliet. So far, she’s enjoying the experience.

“I only do two markets, but I love the market atmosphere,” she said.

Dawn McIntosh, of Joliet, was one of many people that chose to check out the market on its opening day. She has been a regular patron there the last five years, and said it’s nice to see how much it has changed.

“[There’s] more people, so you have more of a community-type feel to it,” McIntosh added. “They have a lot of different products and different kind of vendors,” she said. “Usually, there’s just like a few farm vegetables and things like that. It’s really different.”

More than 20 vendors were on hand for opening day at the farmer’s market, including Milano Bakery, Pick. at Garden Patch Farms, Around Roots and more.

Strickland said she hopes people realize the benefits of choosing to shop there.

“[It’s the] return to the local economy,” she said. “I don’t think people realize how important it is to support local entrepreneurs.”

The downtown Joliet farmer’s market is open from 4-9 p.m. every Wednesday through Sept. 21 (except Sept. 14). Festivities will be held between Chicago and Van Buren Street. Live music will also be available from 6-8 p.m.

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