Oak Park Midweek Market gets a second year

Expenses outpaced revenues, but village wants to keep event going


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By Marty Stempniak

Staff Reporter

Oak Park plans to continue its midweek market in the village's downtown, after what officials say was a successful first year.

Back in June, village hall debuted the Oak Park Midweek Market, a food-focused festival held every hump day over the summer. Its first year was something of an experiment, which wrapped up last month. Well, the experiment seemed to work, and pending a final OK by the village board, Oak Park is bringing the festival back in 2011.

"I think it was, overall, very successful," said Loretta Daly, business services manager for the village. "All of the vendors have said they want to come back, and we got only compliments from people who attended."

Village officials had hoped that the weekly market would turn a profit in its first year, but it ended up with revenues of $25,389 against expenses of $38,452, Daly said. However, Oak Park started a fund for the market at the beginning of the summer, with $28,000 in the bank. And if that initial funding is included, it would leave the weekly event at about $15,000 in the black.

Expenses at the market included liquor and a part-time staff position to manage the event, while revenues came from beer and wine sales and booth fees. Daly believes the market will do even better next year, with hopes that it will have built a better name for itself. Also, it hopefully won't have to deal with the frequent storms of the 2010 summer, she added.

Daly emphasized that the return of the midweek market still needs to be decided by the village board. Trustees will discuss the idea in 2011 budget hearings, which started on Monday.

Oak Park plans to keep the midweek market at the same location — at a village parking lot on the south side of Lake Street, just east of Harlem. Daly said they're considering extending the number of weeks that the market is held, while also starting it an hour later, at 5 p.m.

Poor Phil's Bar & Grill was one of the businesses that had a spot at the midweek market, and owner Dennis Murphy thought things went "OK for the first year." He'd like to see more merchants there in 2011, but most of all he'd like to see the festival develop more of an identity.

"Everyone's heard of it, but nobody knew what it was, whereas the farmers' market, you know what that is," he said. "They need a definition; they need a reason to be there. Right now they don't have a definition."

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Jason Malley  

Posted: October 12th, 2010 12:11 PM

So this good news. I have but one simple request: Please relocate the market from the parking lot on lake street to the little used Westgate Street. This would allow those who go Lake street for lunch to park in the parking lot which is closed all day Wednesdays for set up of the market.Additionally this would allow people who wish to attend the Wednesday Market a place to park during the market hours of operation. It would also do a better job of linking the market to business on Marion st

john murtagh from Oak Park  

Posted: October 11th, 2010 7:12 PM

Wednesday is Hump Day. That is Wednesday is more than half way through the workweek.


Posted: October 11th, 2010 6:32 PM

What is a "hump" day?

Scott from Oak Park  

Posted: October 11th, 2010 5:19 PM

I really enjoyed the mid-week market. You guys need to lighten up. Keep up the good work!

Scott Eddy from Oak Park  

Posted: October 11th, 2010 4:47 PM

Remember the old line, how does "fill in the blank" make a small fortune? Answer, they start with a big one. How does the OP Midweek Market end up with $15,000 in the bank? Answer, they start with $28,000.

Al from Oak Park  

Posted: October 11th, 2010 4:47 PM

Starting an hour later is a good idea. Skating rink is a GREAT idea!


Posted: October 11th, 2010 4:13 PM

Enjoy Oak Park!! We're just like Chicago now with our own Block 37. Maybe we should put in an ice rink this winter.

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