Andrea Tovar sells hand-painted pursues. Credit: Adina Keeling

Evanston’s monthly Thursday Night Markets are back, bringing dancing, dining and shopping to Fountain Square. 

More than 25 vendors were there to sell at the Thursday, June 2, market—the first one hosted in 2022. A small stretch of Sherman Avenue closed to accommodate the vendors and community members danced along to music played by DJ Johnny Price.

Dancing in Fountain Square. Credit: Adina Keeling

“Thursday Night Markets are kind of two-pronged in that they help local artists, makers and retailers get exposure and sell their goods,” said Laura Brown, the Business Development & Marketing Manager at Downtown Evanston, the community organization that hosted the event. “But it’s also great for the community and gives people another reason to come downtown.”

These markets run from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. the first Thursday of every month through September.

Verzell James displays his Awe-Sauce hot sauce. Credit: Adina Keeling

Verzell James, who was selling homemade hot sauce, said it was the perfect day for a market. He frequents local markets and community events to help him promote his business. “I like to get my product out there and build a customer base,” he said. 

Another vendor, Victoria Reeves, sold empowerment dolls at the market. These dolls depict women from all over the world and are meant to inspire people to follow their dreams, she said. 

Reeves said the market is a great opportunity to show off her crafts and engage with shoppers, particularly after so much remote and digital interactions. 

Victoria Reeves poses in front of her hand-made dolls. Credit: Adina Keeling

“To have actual conversations with people is a precious thing,” she said. 

Evanston Games & Cafe was there to make sure community members could play games. Rhen Pass, an employee, said it was her first time at an event like this one, but she really enjoyed it. “It’s going really well. A lot of fun, a lot of interesting people” said Pass. “I hope in the future, we’re going to be going to a lot more of these events.”

Niko Matvos dances to music played by DJ Johnny Price. Credit: Adina Keeling

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...