The Winnetka Farmers Market wants to let the good times roll.
Building off recent success, market organizers pitched the Village of Winnetka on loosening its restrictions on alcohol sales to allow for more of it at the market, and the Village Council drank it up.
During a meeting on Tuesday, March 21, trustees waived an introduction of the measure and unanimously approved changes in the village code to facilitate more alcohol sales during this year’s farmers markets.
The changes include allowing packaged-liquor sales — for consumption off-site — to begin at 7 a.m. and on-site liquor service and tastings to last from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Chamber board member Rocky Flintermann told the council farmers market found success a year ago with its After Market event, which featured live music, food vendors and a hard-cider vendor for a couple hours after the farmers market ended.
“Our goal in running the market is to evolve it every year,” he said. “… We really got something going here. We’re not trying to turn Winnetka into Pottersville (the fictional community in the film “It’s A Wonderful Life”). We really aren’t. We’d like to promote local craft breweries, local seltzer companies, a local cider company.
“We want to do a little something more each year with the market to make it more attractive to the community.”
A year ago, the farmers market moved across the street — from the Village Hall parking lot to the Metra parking lot and Station Park, 754 Elm St. Officials have praised the revamped market as a hit, and the chamber website says the market tallied more than 75 vendors and 25,000 visitors across its five months (June-October).
In its eighth year, the Winnetka Farmers Market is returning to the Metra lot beginning on June 3 and ending on Oct. 28. It is open from 7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., and Flintermann said the chamber hopes to host up to five After Market-type events over the course of the season.
Aside from asking a few clarification questions, Village trustees had little to say about the market’s plans to sell alcohol and unanimously supported the code changes.
The amendments will allow vendors at the farmers market to purchase permits for the entire market season ($75) or for one day ($25) to sell alcohol, whether by the package or in tasting portions.
Chamber Executive Director Terry Dason said the market has not yet had a vendor sell alcohol but expects three or more to apply. Flintermann said restaurants Marco Roma and Grateful Bites have expressed interest.
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