Backstage at the Egyptian: Virginia Filicetti on the DeKalb Farmers’ Market

This year marks 26 years of the annual DeKalb Farmers’ Market hosted by the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce. It will be held in downtown DeKalb from 10:00am to 2:00pm on Thursdays, June 3rd through September 23rd. With over 25 vendors, the Farmers’ Market supports community members far and wide by providing healthy, local produce and products. In an interview with the Egyptian Theatre, Virginia Filicetti answered a few questions about the market and what she looks forward to the most this year.

Additionally, the Egyptian Theatre is proud to announce that they are bringing back the Live Lunch Music series during the lunch hours of 12:00pm-1:30pm. Each week has some fresh music with a new artist, so don’t forget to visit the Van Buer Plaza (across from the theatre) during your lunch!

*Interview with Virginia Filicetti, DeKalb Chamber of Commerce Marketing & Events Manager. Interview conducted by Marketing & Communications Intern Cass Kamp.

CASS: How will this year’s Farmers’ Market compare to the one in 2020?

VIRGINIA: This year’s farmers’ market will feel more like a community event than 2020 because customers are invited to stay and enjoy the market versus the stop-n-go format last year. The Live Lunch Music Series is back too which encourages visitors to order lunch from vendors and stay to listen to local musicians. The market is also open to all vendors the entire season, unlike last year when we had to limit to produce and hot food vendors only for the first month.

C: Are there COVID safety guidelines that will be implemented at the Farmers’ Market this year?

V: The market this year is more “open” than 2020, with an increased number of vendors the entire season and a mask requirement only for those who have not been fully vaccinated. Vendors are still encouraged to provide hand sanitizer for customers and clean their tables and equipment regularly.

C: With live music series coming back in 2021, how do you think that will affect the ambience of the market?

V: Everyone has been craving live music ever since COVID started and we can’t wait to start the Live Lunch Music Series! Live music makes the market a community gathering place to get to know one another and listen to local musicians you might have never heard before. Listening to an acoustic guitar or piano is a different feeling than listening to a stereo, making the market more of a destination and experience.

 C: What is the registration process for the vendors? Can other vendors still register for this year?

V: The registration process for vendors is simple. They fill out a contact form online at dekalb.org/farmersmarket and shortly after are sent a vendor application from the Market Manager (me). We also accept vendors all season as long as space allows. Vendors can reserve weekly, half season or full season booths. Non-profits are also invited to the market once a month at no cost to help promote their services. We are always looking to add new vendors with a variety of products!

 C: Are there any new vendors that will be attending the market this year?

V: We are excited to welcome a handful of new vendors this year! Cookies in Crime and Flour Child are two new baked good vendors selling scones, cookies, chex mix, pound cakes and more. We also have The Herbal Oracle selling a variety of herbal and homeopathy items and The Crafted Corner offering crafted knit items. We’re also happy to welcome back long-time vendors such as Theis Farm Market, Larson’s Country Market and Shady Tree Farm Market selling fresh produce,  plants and more.

 C: What is the Link Match Program? Do all vendors with fresh produce offer this option?

V: Link Match is offered at the market through Link Up Illinois and makes healthy, local, farm-fresh foods more affordable and accessible by doubling the value of Link purchases. We match Link purchases up to $25, offering the possibility of stocking up on $50 worth of fresh produce. We are proud to be the only market in DeKalb County that offers Link Match to help local families eat healthier at an affordable price.

 C: What are you looking forward to the most for this year’s Farmers Market?

V: I am looking forward to vendors and customers getting to know each other again. In 2020, interactions between vendors and customers were limited for a stop-n-go market. The best part about farmers markets is that you get to directly talk to the farmer or small business owner, get to know their products and most importantly their story. You never get to know the people behind the business in a grocery store. Getting to know a local business owner while directly supporting them is something you can’t beat. 

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