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Community members flocked to Fountain Square Thursday evening, where vendors, artists and retailers set up stands and sold beer, cheese, chocolate, clothing, soap, handmade toys, hot sauce and more. 

Children danced along to music, played by a live DJ, while parents observed the atmosphere. 

The event – which ran from 3 to 8 p.m. – was organized by Downtown Evanston, a non-profit working to support the local economy. These Markets take place on the first Thursday of every month and will continue through October. 

Each market has a theme. In June, it was “Apparel & Accessories” and in July it was “Health & Wellness.” This month’s theme was “Food & Drink,” and organizers encouraged residents to stop at local restaurants for a late lunch or dinner. 

Local artist Unika G. sold her handmade crochet toys. (Photo by Adina Keeling)

At the market, local artist Unika G. sold her handmade crochet toys. “Crochet toys are a must for a kid,” said G. “They’re washable, and they never wear out, and they are very natural material.” 

Another vendor, Rosemary Reed, who ran a stand with the help of her son, Steven Reed, said the organizer of Downtown Evanston informed her about the market. A Skokie business, Reed said she had to give the market a try. “We’re neighbors!” she exclaimed. 

Before starting her business, Reed and her husband worked as chef consultants, but due to the pandemic, she had to change her plans. Her business, Skokie Provisions, sells marmalade, nuts, spreads, toffee and more, and aims to add new flavors, seasonings and a heat element to everyday cooking. 

Owner of Skokie Provisions sells marmalade, nuts, spreads, toffee and more. (Photo by Adina Keeling)

“We wanted people at home to have a restaurant experience, to have those little things in their fridge or cupboards that would allow them to elevate their cooking,” said Reed. 

Vendors or artists interested in selling at future Thursday Night Markets can sign up here. 

Adina Keeling

Adina Keeling is a photojournalist and reporter, covering city news, sustainability, schools, and art. She also investigates mental health systems and environmental injustices in Evanston, and puts together...