Jefferson Park farmers markets relocating this summer to Irish-American Heritage Center to better accommodate social distancing rules
by BRIAN NADIG
The Jefferson Park Sunday Market is returning this summer as a walk-up event, but the farmers’ market will be relocating to the north parking lot of the Irish-American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox Ave., to better accommodate any social distancing requirements.
Market organizer Merril Miller said that she hopes the market can return in 2022 to Jefferson Memorial Park, 4822 N. Long Ave., the market’s home for years. However, she said, the city’s pandemic-related restrictions necessitated the move to the heritage center in neighboring Mayfair.
In 2020, the Jefferson Park, Portage Park and Independence Park markets joined forces for a series of drive-up only markets in which customers had to pre-order. “A lot of people were appreciative that there was something last year,” Miller said, adding that between 150 and 200 people came to each drive-up.
The current requirements for markets include face coverings for shoppers and vendors, six feet of space between patrons and one-way traffic flow for pedestrians in and out of the market, with a single entrance and exit, Miller said.
“There was no way we could really do that without blocking off the playground (at Jefferson Park), and no one wanted to do that,” Miller said.
Some of the existing requirements may be altered or removed by the first market on Sunday, June 13, but planning started months ago when Chicago was undergoing surges in COVID-19 cases, and the layout of the park created too many challenges, Miller said. She added that compliance with all pandemic rules is a requirement of the market’s permit with the city.
Patrons will be asked to walk into the market from Knox Avenue and exit toward Kilpatrick Avenue. The south parking lot will be available for patron parking.
Many of the market’s most popular vendors are returning, and produce, cheese, baked goods, meats, coffee, tamales and crepes are among the items that will be sold, Miller said. Music and eating will not be allowed on the premises, but that could change if crowd restrictions are eased up, she said.
The Jefferson Park markets will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sundays, June 13 and 27, July 11 and 25, Aug. 8 and 22, Sept. 12 and 26, and Oct. 10 and 24. A list of vendors is available at www.jeffersonparksundaymarket.com.
Meanwhile, the Portage Park Farmers’ Market will be held from10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays, June 6 and 20, July 18, Aug. 1, 15 and 29, Sept. 5 and 19, and Oct. 3, at the park, 4100 N. Long Ave. More information is available on the group’s Facebook page.
Also, the Greater Independence Park Neighborhood Association has announced that markets will be returning to the park, 3945 N. Springfield Ave., but details have not been released.The group’s website is www.gipna.org.