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Market on Central resumes Saturday

Downtown Fort Dodge is on the rebound. During the last several years, storefronts up and down Central Avenue and on nearby streets that have too long been vacant are once again coming to life commercially. The city’s historic business district is becoming the home to an impressive array of new businesses. Many of these enterprises are exactly the type of family-owned and operated ventures that have long been a driving force in our nation’s economy.

The success of Market on Central, which resumes Saturday, is a superb example of the renaissance in downtown Fort Dodge.

In 2011, this splendid event was launched. On the second and fourth Saturdays of each month during summer, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., it transforms the heart of the city into a bustling village of vendors, artisans, entertainers – and more.

Each year this festival has become stronger.

During its first year, there were 10 to 15 vendors. That has grown to 42. Of those, 33 are considered anchors. Anchor vendors have made the commitment to be a part of the entire season.

Last year, Market on Central drew between 3,000 to 4,000 people to each market day.

Not content with past achievements, organizers have big plans to make the 2015 season an even bigger draw. They plan to keep it family friendly and strengthen its attraction as a shopping experience. For the opener of the new season, Market on Central is partnering with the Blanden Memorial Art Museum as a way to offer more activities and experiences. More enhancements will unfold as the summer progresses.

Market on Central offers exciting shopping, but it has an additional very serious purpose. It is helping to jump-start the small business component of the local economy. It helps introduce shoppers to the potential of Central Avenue and nearby streets. It gives an eclectic assortment of vendors an opportunity to connect with folks who may find their wares impossible to resist. The owners of many of the small businesses featured each summer have seen their participation lead to increased sales over the following months once shoppers learned what they had to offer.

The word is spreading throughout north central Iowa that Market on Central is the place to be each summer.

Put these Saturdays on your calendar and start things off by joining in the fun Saturday.

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