Chandler’s downtown merchants are hoping the return of the monthly openair marketplace this Saturday will attract shoppers to the city’s historic district.
"Last year we did it in the spring, but we always teamed it up with events that were already going on," said Katie Stringham, an organizer for the Chandler Marketplace.
Now the event will stand on its own every third Saturday of the month until April.
Shoppers can check out local and traveling merchants selling produce, baked goods, and arts and crafts while listening to live entertainment.
The event is part of a larger effort by city and business leaders to revitalize Chandler’s historic downtown district and capitalize on increased traffic brought by the nearby Santan Freeway that now connects to Arizona Avenue.
"And that’s really the whole point," Stringham said. "Hopefully people come in on our new freeway."
Jewelry designer Raven Valdes makes her living selling her wares at events like the Chandler Marketplace throughout Arizona.
"I avoid the shows that charge $1,000 for a 10-by-10 space," she said.
She said she didn’t face that problem in Chandler.
"It’s as reasonable as you get," Valdes said. "They don’t charge anything."
Stringham said the marketplace events attracted about 200 to 300 people each Saturday last spring.
The marketplace kicks off its fall and winter season 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at A.J. Chandler Park at Arizona Avenue and Chandler Boulevard.
Chandler officials are also planning to beef up their weekly farmers market later this month.
The market, which has been running all summer, will move to Thursdays from 3 to 6 p.m. at the A.J. Chandler Park beginning Oct. 20th.