Downtown Downers Grove Market returns for 32nd year

Market supports Indian Boundary YMCA programming

Robert Pollow of Downers Grove buys lettuce during the Downers Grove Farmers Market Saturday May 13, 2023.

The smell of fresh ground coffee brewing and the sounds of a live band were sure signs May 13 that the Downtown Downers Grove Market was back.

The Downtown Downers Grove Market is managed by the Indian Boundary YMCA, which launched the market in 1991 as a fundraiser to support YMCA programming. Barbara Taylor served as the executive director for the Indian Boundary YMCA from 2008 to 2013 and under her guidance the market grew in popularity.

It’s the ultimate opportunity to shop small, with each purchase helping the vendor and every business, in turn, helping to support the community. Each year the proceeds from the vendor booth rentals help the Indian Boundary YMCA programs and initiatives.

“The proceeds support the YMCA so we can support and serve local families in need,” said Cindy Fernandez, executive director of the Indian Boundary YMCA.

Area families are part of the Indian Boundary YMCA. Children learn to swim in the pool and families enjoy recreational programs such as basketball leagues and fitness classes and exercise equipment. The YMCA’s summer camps provide opportunities for children to have fun, meet new friends and learn skills.

Greg Boltz, Downers Grove Township assessor, remembers taking swim lessons at the Indian Boundary YMCA when he was a child and recalls taking his daughter there as well. Today, he serves on the Indian Boundary YMCA Advisory Board. He shared how the YMCA is a significant part of the community, from serving families to hosting the annual market.

“It’s just such a staple in the downtown,” Boltz said. “It’s exciting to see the positivity.”

The market is open from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays at the Downers Grove Metra station.

And it’s not only freshly picked foods and crafts. The market also features live music to entertain shoppers and encourage small children to leave their strollers and dance.

Fernandez said while most shoppers may not realize the market is produced by the Y, staff and volunteers enjoy time at their booth answering questions and chatting with shoppers. She said this summer there are more than 60 vendors lined up to have booths at the market. A full list of vendors is available on the Y’s website and the market’s Facebook page.

In the 32 years since the launch of the Downtown Downers Grove Market, it has become the place where neighbors catch up and where families shop for fresh produce and marvel at the handcrafted items. Vendors enjoy the opportunity to talk about their products and crafts. From finding the perfect ingredients for dinner to finding plenty to nosh on while shopping, the market is an opportunity to shop small and have a big impact.