Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Everything Evanston: Behind the boba in downtown Evanston

Downtown Evanston expands Thursday Night Market, includes free live concerts

Photo courtesy of Laura Brown
The Thursday Night Markets attract about 500 people every month. This year, some of the markets will also include live music, along with vendors.

Downtown Evanston will host its fifth Thursday Night Market series at Fountain Square this summer, featuring local artists, retailers, vendors, music and activities.

Held on June 6, July 11, Aug. 1 and Sept. 5 from 4:30-7:30 p.m., the market will have about 30 vendors, according to Laura Brown, Downtown Evanston’s director of marketing.

The market promotes local retailers and artists who create handmade products, Brown said. She said in previous years, about 500 people attended each market.

Prior to the pandemic, Downtown Evanston hosted the Thursday Night Live concert series at Fountain Square. Then, during the pandemic, Downtown Evanston switched to the Thursday Night Market series.

“We reached out to our local retailers to see who wanted to have a booth because at that time, people were still not super comfortable going into stores,” Brown said. “Since then it’s turned into a very successful market.”

This year, Downtown Evanston is partnering the Thursday Night Markets with Downtown Summer Sounds, a concert series that goes from July 11 to Sept. 26, in hopes of drawing more people to the markets.

The Thursday Night Markets will feature artists including Chicken Bone, Nathan Graham and Blue Line Blues Band.

“We’re partnering with a lot of community organizations and nonprofits to market the concerts,” Brown said. “It’s a way to collaborate and hopefully broaden our audience (and) bring new people downtown.”

Jessica Neill, who participated in the Thursday Night Markets last year, will sell handmade prints and paintings at the market in June and July with her company, Bourbon & Spark.

Neill said in previous years, she enjoyed talking with customers and checking out other vendors at the markets. She added that she thinks the turnout will be even better than last year because of the addition of concerts.

“I think (the concerts) will give more people an opportunity to come out,” Neill said. “Maybe (they will) draw people who wouldn’t normally visit them in so that they can enjoy the market as well.”

Ulki Crochet Toys owner Unika Gujar is a vendor at the June and July Thursday Night Markets. She said since the pandemic, the markets have grown to be more commercialized as they are more heavily advertised to the public.

Hive Center for the Book Arts founder Jamie Thome said she is looking forward to the June and August markets because she enjoys spending time talking to people in the Evanston community. It is a really good way of getting to know other local artists and businesses, Thome said.

“I encourage a lot of people to come out because one of the things that makes Evanston special is that we have such great creative people here,” Thome said. “We don’t want to lose that.”

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