The first Market on Central will be held Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Central Avenue in Historic Downtown Fort Dodge and will be held for six successive Saturdays. The Fort Dodge Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to be involved in this new venture for our region.
The Fort Dodge Area Market Street is an organization with the following mission statement:
To enrich the quality of life by providing an event which encourages community interaction, socialization and community building in the historic Downtown District.
To create an opportunity for people of ages, cultures and backgrounds to embrace the arts and explore new experiences.
To promote local commerce of diverse foods, arts and products of our region.
To prove an educational opportunity for consumers to learn the benefits of healthy eating and wellness.
This collaborative effort has evolved from many sources, mainly the Envision 2030 Study and the R.A. Smith Study. The results from both studies pointed to the same conclusions on a number of quality-of-life-related topics. One, we are not taking advantage of our architecturally significant buildings in the downtown area. Two, we are not taking advantage of our vacant downtown. Three, we are not taking advantage of the beauty of the Des Moines River.
We looked at ways address these issues. At the same time, a group of people from the Historical Society, along with help from many other volunteers and the city, started the process to have Fort Dodge's downtown named on the National Register of Historic Places - quite a long and involved process. They achieved success in the fall of 2010, when the downtown was officially named to the National Register.
Another catalyst in the process was the effort to have Fort Dodge, Webster and Hamilton counties be designated an Iowa Great Place. This effort was led by Cheryl O'Hern (Frontier Communications), Matt Cosgrove (Webster County Conservation), Stephanie Houk Sheetz and Angela Torres (Business Affairs and Community Growth, city of Fort Dodge) and many others who worked with the Department of Cultural Affairs for more than a year to obtain this designation for our area. This is another great step in the right direction, indicating that we are truly moving forward, effectively and productively.
In the meantime, the Chamber, members from the city's offices, local businesses and other volunteers, decided to form a downtown market that would help us highlight our historic buildings, bring more traffic downtown, help utilize available spaces downtown and provide an "event" for people in our region, as well as visitors, to take part in. Thus, Market on Central was conceived.
The Chamber decided not to host Fall Fest, and instead, focused our energies and volunteers on creating this new "Market on Central." You won't find anything similar to Market on Central for a range of 60 miles from Fort Dodge. We feel that we have a unique opportunity to bring arts, music, crafts, fresh produce and other Iowa handmade specialty items found in this family shopping experience.
Some of the vendors are: Set In Stone (decorative garden items), Stone Creek Landscape and Nursery (fruits and vegetables), Powers Photography and Design, The Fort Dodge Camera Club (photos), TeAnja Studios (jewelry), The Fort Dodge Cheesecake Lady, Garden Winery, The Popcorn Lady and many, many more. Each Saturday will have an "extra" - a special event in addition to the regular market vendors.
July 9: Horse-drawn carriage rides from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and the Historical Preservation Society will conduct tours of the Vincent House at 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m.
July 16: Vocal Trash will perform its "Recycled Street Show."
July 23: Sonshine Singers will perform; Historical Preservation Society will conduct tours of the historical Webster County Courthouse.
July 30: In partnership with the Lizard Creek Blues Society, the band Mudd Jugg will perform.
Aug. 6: Historical Preservation Tour of the Ringland-Smeltzer House
Aug. 13: National Farmers Market Week special events. Amber Kastler, Hy-Vee dietitian will be presenting healthy options for creative menus, desserts and more.
Market on Central encourages entertainers, musicians, artists and produce growers to participate in Market on Central. We know there are many, many talented people in our community - if you or someone you know has a talent to share, please participate in the Market.
Similarly, people who create arts, crafts, jewelry, food and other items. The Market wants 70 percent of the goods sold to be produced, created or grown in Iowa - we have a lot to offer, and here is a venue that can be used to offer these products to the public. Again, if you or someone you know would like to be a vendor, please visit www.fdmarketoncentral.com or call the Chamber at 955-5500.
In addition to the Chamber, Market on Central has many sponsors, businesses and individuals who believe strongly in the merit of this project. They are Abstract Associates, Blue Ribbon/Pelham Waters, Carpet World Flooring America, Citizens Community Credit Union, city of Fort Dodge, Consumer News, CS Bank, Fairway Outdoor Advertising, First Federal, Fort Dodge Convention and Visitors Bureau, Friendship Haven, Frontier Communications, Heartland Communications, Hy-Vee, McGregors Furniture, Olde Boston's, Prairie Rivers of Iowa, Rich Woods, Self-Supported Municipal Improvement District, The Dariette, The Messenger, Tillies Quilts, Three Eagles Communications, Trinity Regional Medical Center, Twist and Shout and Wells Fargo Bank.
We hope you will visit Market on Central, Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. beginning this Saturday in Historic Downtown Fort Dodge. Central Avenue will be closed from Seventh Street to 10th Street, so stroll down the blocks and enjoy our fresh, outdoor market.
Amy Bruno is executive director of the Fort Dodge Area Chamber of Commerce.