Chamber sponsors 'I shop local' celebration
WORTHINGTON -- It started as a small idea, grew into a reality and blossomed into something even the organizers didn't expect.
"I honestly thought there would be about 20 vendors and a couple hundred people a week," said Amanda Walljasper, a member of the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce Retail Committee and volunteer coordinator of the Downtown Worthington Farmers Market. "We've had more than 50 vendors and probably 800 people a week come through the market."
Walljasper, who owns Schafer's Health Center, said customers had brought up the idea of a downtown market because they were having trouble getting to the Saturday market in Runnings parking lot.
The idea was also to promote downtown Worthington.
"It is important to buy local and support local businesses," Walljasper said.
In appreciation for all the people who have chosen to shop local and support Worthington's downtown economy, the chamber is sponsoring an "I Buy Local" celebration, with free hot dogs being served on the lawn of the Government Center from 5 p.m. until gone on Tuesday.
Local businesses will stay open until 8 p.m.
"It's really a kick-off to the fall season," Walljasper explained. "The market is getting pumpkins and squash, and it's a great time to buy fall decorations, clothing and shoes -- all kinds of fall things."
Many of the stores are having special promotions and coupon sales to complement the celebration, Walljasper said.
Last week's market included an array of vegetables, fruits, breads, baked goods, canned goods and more. As the seasons have changed, the baby peas of spring have given way to the tomatoes of late summer, and the local producers have kept their tables full of new products each week.
"But this isn't the end of this season's farmers market," Walljasper cautioned. "We will go into October."