Those looking for a day of entertainment — and some unique buys — are encouraged to visit the downtown area this weekend for the 2019 Great American Market presented by Emporia Main Street.

Running from 7 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday throughout Commercial Street, this year’s event is set to be one of the biggest yet with more than 200 vendor booths, a wide variety of food trucks and areas for kid-friendly activities such as bounce houses and more.

“We have a lot of new vendors that are coming in from some pretty significant geographic regions,” Emporia Main Street Executive Director Casey Woods said. “There will be a lot there that people haven’t seen before. If not the largest, this will be one of the largest markets from a vendor perspective that we’ve ever had. There’s plenty of retail options, arts and crafts; we’re actually out looking at the 1000 block [of Commercial Street] right now because we’re going to fill that farther than we ever have before.

“We’ll have food trucks basically on every block to provide several different options. There are some for breakfast and lunch, some with dessert and others were fair-type foods like cotton candy … We’ll also have entertainment options throughout the day. This will be the first year we’ve had the sound system for the market, so we’ll be able to provide announcements and music throughout the day to help add to the entire experience.”

With last year’s market attracting more than 8,000 visitors to the downtown area, Woods expects plenty of out-of-staters again this year. He hopes locals will use the opportunity to introduce their friends and family members to Emporia and the broader Flint Hills community.

“A thing that we all love about the Great American Market is how it can be something for all ages for people from every part of the region,” Woods said. “This is the type of event where you see everyone you know. For some people, they use this event for sort of a family or friend reunion weekend where everyone comes to town even if they’ve moved away. I had someone in our office yesterday tell me they had friends from Texas coming up just for this.

“This is a great way to spend a number of hours with friends and family by shopping and just having a good time together. I personally enjoy the Great American Market because I always run into things I’ve never seen before.”

Anyone wishing to rent booth space for the Great American Market can still do so by visiting www.emporiamainstreet.com, calling 340-6430 or emailing main.street@emporia-kansas.gov. Spaces are filling up rapidly, so timeliness is recommended to reserve a spot.

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