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Rockford City Market delays opening day anticipates changes in market layout

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — On summer Friday nights in downtown Rockford City Market takes center stage. But the community will have to wait a little longer for those vendor filled nights along the Rock River.

"We had a board meeting a couple weeks ago and talked through different options, and decided delaying at least three weeks into the first week of June is the best decision right now," says Rock River Development Partnership Executive Director Cathy McDermott.

McDermott says the hope is by June 5th the community will have been given the green light to gather safely in groups by then. Organizers are also taking a number of steps to ensure they create a safe atmosphere.

"We're looking at ways to implement social distancing at the market, spreading out the booths," says McDermott.

Organizers understand while some people may rush to the market at their first chance, others may be hesitant to gather in groups.

"I've heard both of those schools of thought as well," says McDermott. "I think we'll land somewhere in the middle. I wouldn't be surprised at all if our crowds are down this year."

Alex and Paityn Edwards own Evelyn's Acre, a floral vendor at the market. They say City Market has been key to getting their floral business off the ground.

"When we started our business model was based around City Market," says Paityn.

"I would say it's 50% of our business," says Alex. "It's huge in getting our name out there, the marketing. Without City Market I don't think we'd been able to start."

The couple say they've been juggling a number of wedding postponements due to COVID-19 but continue to do growing and gardening as usual. However, they're both looking forward to a City Market season and believe Rockford will come out in full force.

"I think people are going to look at it a different way," says Paityn. "We're not going to take it for granted we can go out to city market anymore. Rockford knows how to have a good time."

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Mary Sugden

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