As the Dane County Farmer’s Market plans its return, other major events could take more time or wait until 2022

MADISON, Wis. – As the Dane County Farmer’s Market plans to make a June 19 return, other downtown events could take longer to come back, or be delayed until 2022.

“The logistics of deciding where to have your event, when to have it, what permits to get, how many vendors you could possibly fit into which spaces under which health orders has been incredibly challenging for these event organizers,” said Tiffany Kenney, who serves as the Executive Director for Madison’s Central Business Improvement District. 

Kenney says for many events, permits can take 60-90 days to process – meaning while restricted COVID regulations allow them to happen now, it’ll likely be later in the summer before they actually do.

“You’ll see June is a little quieter downtown, but then you’ll see July pick up, then August pick up, then maybe by September, be back to our usual busy downtown,” Kenney said. “That’s all about the timing of getting permits and permissions for downtown.”

Some events, like Live on King Street, won’t return in 2021 for planning reasons. Kenney says this is partially due to complexities in planning created by the introduction of outdoor dining in the area.

Other events, like Taste of Madison, will happen in a different location – like Breese Stevens Field.

There is a lot of moving parts,” said DCFM Co-Market Manager Jamie Bugel. “We were working with the department of administration, the City of Madison, and Public Health Madison Dane County to make sure we were going to reopen in the safest way possible.”

When the market reopens, Bugel says it will look and feel like 2019’s market. 

It will be really similar to what you might remember in year’s past,” she said. “The vendors will be in the same locations that they have been, and we will ask unvaccinated individuals wear a mask, but everyone else is able to do whatever makes them the most comfortable.”

Kenney says while all events won’t return for the summer of 2021, getting any back is a bonus. She also says new events, like Madison Lit, a bi-weekly art and performance event, will give event-seekers something to enjoy. 

Historically, 70 percent of sales within our retail stores on state street were tired to an event. We need to see those economic stimulators come back,” she said. “We need to show how strong, how creative, and how wonderful our downtown can be.”