Market After Dark returns this Saturday in Cedar Rapids

Nighttime version of Cedar Rapids Downtown Farmers' Market expected to draw a crowd

People wait in line at the Iowa BBQ stand during last year’s Market After Dark in Cedar Rapids. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
People wait in line at the Iowa BBQ stand during last year’s Market After Dark in Cedar Rapids. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

Lighted ballerinas, live DJs, dancing robots and more will take over downtown Cedar Rapids streets Saturday night during the Market After Dark.

The nighttime version of the Cedar Rapids Downtown Farmers’ Market will be 6:30 to 11 p.m., with about 100 vendors spread over 18 city blocks. Streets will be closed to vehicles inside the event’s footprint, bounded by First and Sixth streets and First and Fourth avenues. Street closures will begin Saturday afternoon.

New this year will be three decorated, themed alleyways: the Secret Garden Alley, the Starry Night Alley and the Rainbow Alley.

The Secret Garden Alley will have water features, plants and little benches, said Melissa McCarville, communications manager for the Cedar Rapids Economic Alliance, which is organizing the event.

“We’re utilizing (the alleys) as additional thoroughfares,” she said. “It’s just a cool, unique way to utilize those spaces.”

This is the fourth installment of the night market, held once each summer. In previous years, about 30,000 patrons have shown up to shop, eat, drink and listen to live music, which will center on a stage at Third Avenue SE and Fifth Street SE, between The Gazette building and First Presbyterian Church. The Gazette is the presenting media sponsor for the event.

The main stage will feature performances by Cedar Rapids singer Alisabeth Von Presley at 6:30 p.m., followed by soul, funk and R&B band 10 of Soul at 9 p.m. A planned performance by “American Idol” winner and Iowa native Maddie Poppe was canceled in July because of schedule conflicts.

Other entertainment will include DJs, dancers, street performers, yard games and more.


“We’re bringing back some things that went over really well last year, like the Prestige ballet dancers — the lighted ballerinas were a huge hit last year,” McCarville said.

She said those dancers, from Prestige Dance Studio in Cedar Rapids, are planning a performance with DJ Matt Rissi in the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art parking lot, as well as an appearance onstage with Von Presley.

Marketgoers will be able to carry beer and wine in designated Market After Dark cups within the event venue. To cut down on waste this year, attendees are encouraged to reuse the souvenir cups, available to purchase for $6, which includes the first drink. Refills will be $5. Many downtown bars and restaurants also will be open and participating in the open container program. The open container policy will end at 10:30 p.m., half an hour before the market is over.

Free parking will be available along streets outside the venue or for $5 in nearby parking ramps. To encourage safety, people will be allowed to leave their cars overnight until 10 a.m. Sunday.

Though dogs are allowed at Saturday morning markets, they will not be allowed at Market After Dark. Outside beverages and coolers are also prohibited, as is smoking inside the market.

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