The Biggest Downtown Weekend of the Year

Used by permission of the Old Capitol Art Fair Committee.

Downtown has a lot of great festivals (one of them being DSI’s Amaranth Apple Fest) and great weekends, but one could argue that this weekend is THE BIGGEST WEEKEND of the year in Downtown Springfield. Throw together the state’s largest outdoor art festival, drag queens, fresh produce and a race of pink-adorned people — not to mention downtown’s shops, restaurants and bars — and you could literally spend every few hours doing something new, fun and fresh. And not even spend as much as you would during a day at a theme park!

To help you plan your weekend adventure, here are the links to the most popular events taking place on Saturday and Sunday plus a map of the street closures.

Looking for what to do tonight? Check out our event calendar>

Old Capitol Farmers Market – Official Ribbon Cutting & Cake

Saturday 8 am – 12:30 pm at 4th and Adams

The first Saturday of Springfield’s “Best Community Event” includes performances by Springfield Youth Performance Group, a free community workout by Pure Performance, a chef demonstration by Maldaner’s chef Michael Higgins, music by Rachel Rambach and complimentary cake for all patrons thanks to vendor and downtown restaurant Incredibly Delicious.

Old Capitol Art Fair

Saturday 10 am – 5 pm and Sunday 10 am – 4 pm around the Old State Capitol at 5th and Washington

Whether you are a serious art collector or are just developing an appreciation, there is original art here for you, in the form of jewelry, sculpture, photography, glassware, pottery, wood, metalwork, oils, watercolors, and other media.

Springfield Pridefest

Saturday 11:30 am – 10 pm at 4th and Capitol

This street fair embraces diversity and celebrates the Central Illinois LGBTQ community with a parade, children’s area and main stage. Plus two drag queen contests and karaoke!

Susan G Komen 5K Race for the Cure

Saturday 5 pm – 9:30 pm at 2nd and Capitol

This popular race to fight breast cancer celebrates its 5th year in Springfield, with a 5k and 1k and pink fireworks at the end of the night.

What’s New at Our 2018 Farmers Market

Every Saturday of the Market season

The Old Capitol Farmer’s Market — voted Best Community Event, Best Weekend Activity and Best Fresh Produce in 2017 – is back for the 2018 season at 4th and Adams!! Thanks to HSHS St. John’s Hospital for their generous support as premier sponsor.

The Old Capitol Farmers Market is proud to continue its status as the area’s only producer-only farmers market. This means that all products are grown, raised, or handmade by each vendor and nothing is re-sold or mass produced. Over the last two years, the Market has tightened its inspection policy to insure the integrity of the producer-only status.

“Shoppers can feel confident that when they shop at the Old Capitol Farmers Market that they are getting the freshest produce and proteins raised right here in Illinois by the farmers standing in front of them,” said Deborah Cavanagh-Grant, Old Capitol Farmer’s Market Manager. The producer-only rule is part of a larger effort to help shoppers know their farmers and better understand and invest in local food systems.

What’s New in the 2018 Season?

Junior League of Springfield Partnership to Help Decrease Food Insecurity

SNAP statistics from the 2017 market season. ISA won more than $2k more in match money for 2018.

The Junior League of Springfield (JLS), a 75-year-old local service organization, adopted an Issue Based Community Impact model in 2014 in order to better strengthen the skills of members and create more community impact. Since establishing “food insecurity” as their focus area, JLS has committed over 200 hours of service toward this issue.

The Old Capitol Farmers Market has been chosen as the avenue for Junior League to partner to combat food insecurity over the next several years. Citing the Market’s successful use of SNAP benefit matches totaling more than $16-thousand in 2017 alone, Lindsay Bentivegna, President of JLS, said, “Partnering with the Old Capitol Farmers Market and its SNAP Match Program will allow Junior League members to interact with those coming to the farmer’s market and help influence the positive outcomes of the SNAP Match program.”

Junior League members will be actively involved with data collection, fundraising and event planning, and program implementation with the Illinois Stewardship Alliance, specifically related to their day-to-day management of the Market.

ISA secured the largest SNAP grant match in the Market’s history this year, totaling $11,000 from Link Up Illinois, a program of non-profit Experimental Station. The money has increased for our Market because it has so successfully found an audience who can use Link benefits for purchases of  locally grown fruits and vegetables from our vendors.

Look For the “Signature Ingredients!”

This season it will be easier than ever to find the freshest local ingredients at the food trucks and prepared food vendors at the Old Capitol Farmers Market, thanks to the new “Signature Ingredient” chalkboard signs.

Each food vendor has committed to purchasing and highlighting at least one Market ingredient on their menu each week– the “signature ingredient.” It could be anything from local eggs in your breakfast tacos, to farm-fresh blueberries in your muffins, to perfectly ripe heirloom tomatoes tucked into your burrito.

The signature ingredient program helps build connections between small farms and local businesses, keeps money local, and gives patrons the choice to eat local and try out the freshest seasonal ingredients.

New Options on Adams Street

The economic benefits for both the local farmer and artisan community, as well as the businesses in the vicinity of the Old Capitol Farmers Market, are clear and have led to many of the Adams Street vacancies filling in with new brick-and-mortar businesses that Market patrons should check out this season. Itty Bitty Fashion Truck started as a Market vendor and has been open in their “permanent home” since November at 403 E Adams. They will be hosting special summer hours all Market season, opening at 8 am on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

New brewery Buzz Bomb Brewing Co. opened earlier this year at 406 E Adams Street to rave reviews and will have special Saturday hours, opening at 10 am, during the Market. Kiddos by Urban Sassafras, a second venture from Cassandra Pence Ostermeier, has weekend-only hours at 407 E Adams, offering free interactive art activities for kids of all ages and Take-and-Make kits for sale. “The Market is where Urban Sassafras really took off, and I’m happy to have an outpost there again,” said Ostermeier.

Look For Local Businesses at the Commercial Tent

You may also find some new local businesses whom you hadn’t heard about at DSI’s new “Commercial Tent,” located at the northwest corner of 4th and Adams on various Saturdays throughout the Market. Based on the Logan Square Farmers Market in the Chicagoland area, the Commercial Tent provides locally-owned Springfield businesses an opportunity to inform market goers about their products and services.

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