Vendors, music and food… Oh My!

Market Nights return for the summer

WEBSTER CITY – Over the course of the summer months of June, July, August and early September, communities throughout Iowa make a big circle around a particular day or weekend to partake in various festivities, food and fun.

For instance, Fort Dodge kicks off its summer with Frontier Days this weekend followed by the Jewell Jubilee next weekend, and Lehigh River Days in the middle of June. Stanhope has Watermelon Day at the zenith of summertime on July 15, and Dayton bookends the summer with its 86th annual Championship Rodeo, which takes place on Labor Day weekend.

Webster City plays the game a little differently.

Instead of setting aside one day or a weekend to pull out all of the stops, Webster City celebrates each Thursday — from June until August.

At 5:30 p.m. today, the weekly chain of events — highlighted by special themes, vendors, local businesses, food and live music — begins its 2023 summertime cycle down Second Street in downtown Webster City.

This year, the Webster City Area Chamber of Commerce and its partners are aiming to take advantage of its growth.

According to Robin Streigle of the Webster City Area Chamber of Commerce, who has played a major role in the slate of Thursday night shindigs alongside Executive Director Anna Woodward, it’s been a balance between keeping the downtown businesses excited and enhancing the visitor experience.

“We have heard so much positive feedback,” said Streigle. “We’re excited to have more than double the vendors starting this year, as we ended with last year. There will also be a wide variety of food rotating each week, from gyro to barbeque and wings.”

This evening is Racing Night, where drivers who frequent the Hamilton County Speedway will hold meet-and-greets with visitors. The first 250 people who stop by the Kona Ice truck will receive a treat, courtesy of Platinum Connect, which recently celebrated its 1,000th customer.

Wildcat Distilling Company’s tasting room will be open, while American Legion Post 191 will host a three-day rummage sale. The proceeds from the sale will go toward local families with active military personnel.

The Webster City Church of Christ is set to have plenty of yard games for kids, from nine-squad to carpet ball.

Bill Robb will provide the live music.

Following the first Market Night of the season, the Webster City Area Chamber of Commerce outlined its next events, starting with next Thursday’s Motorcycle Night with music from Kris Karr.

June 15 will host Classic Car Night with music from MOJO Productions, followed by June 22’s theme of first responders with tunes from Neil Anders. June 29 is Throwback Thursday with a special guest in the Ronley King Blues Band, and July 6 is Americana Night with music from the Kozmic Brownies.

July 13 celebrates the great outdoors with sound from Rod Johnson, and July 20 marks another Classic Car Night, and July 27 will complement the Hamilton County Fair with music from Chip Evans. Aug. 3 is Art Night with Anders returning to Webster City, and Aug. 10 is a “Fill the Bus Back to School” with Ryne Doughty as the featured act.

A third Classic Car Night is scheduled for Aug. 17 with music by Jesse Wilson, and Karr will return on Aug. 24 for Ag Night. The final Market Night is dedicated to STEAM careers with music from area artist Scott Kirkhart.

With more stuff going on, there will be a lot more space for the Chamber to work with.

“We are going to be extending down the 600 block of Second Street and a partial block of Des Moines Street this year, with the live music at the Avalia Bank Plaza,” Streigle said. “We are excited to have many of the brick-and-mortar businesses join us this year. Many will be open and have an outside presence.”

Another new wrinkle for 2023 is a beer tent from Karl Webster City and the Hamilton County Speedway. Along with vendors, there will be non-profits on hand during the Market Nights.

“We want to continue to provide support for local business and be able to help create a place where vendors can become known, grow and be able to provide more local shopping opportunities with the weekly exposure to those who attend,” said Streigle. “We want Market Nights to be a boost for business that can continue throughout the year.”

“We are excited to have our new Chamber Ambassadors be helping with ideas and implementation to provide an amazing event each week this summer in downtown Webster City,” she added.


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