Saturdays on the Square returning to Elkhorn

By Heather Ruenz

SLN staff

Upon learning that the farm market was not going to continue, the chamber took advantage of the opportunity to create an “ongoing destination that will appease to a broad audience,” according to Chris Clapper, executive director of the Elkhorn Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Center.

The result is that they’ll be bringing back an old tradition in Elkhorn – Saturdays on the Square.

“Saturdays on the Square used to be an event but fell by the wayside at some point. We’re looking at this as an opportunity to bring back something that was successful in the past and add some new twists,” Clapper said.

She said the weekly event will feature a farm market element in an effort to maintain that tradition, but will also include crafters, local food stands and a community counter, among other things.

Local businesses will be able to use Saturdays on the Square as an opportunity to show their products or share information and nonprofits, local clubs and organizations are also welcome, according to Clapper.

“They can fundraise, promote their events and bring awareness to the public about what they do,” she said.

Saturday, May 18 will be the first Saturdays on the Square event and it will run every Saturday through Oct. 12 (other than July 6 and Aug. 31) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Veteran’s Park on the downtown square.

Clapper said one of the exciting new ideas that will be included is having a feature or theme each week.

“For example – and this is still in the early stages so just an example, but we’re hoping to partner with the library and have someone read books, or with the Park & Rec Department and maybe they offer activities or have a demonstration,” she said.

People with ideas for a focus any given week are encouraged to share.

“We’re now looking for people that have an idea for a theme or feature and ask that they contact us so we can talk about it,” Clapper said, adding that depending on how different features are received by attendees, they may grow into regularly scheduled events and be present at more Saturdays on the Square.

Farm markets can be challenging, Clapper said, because there are so many held throughout the area and a lot of farm market vendors are committed to one, if not more, markets.

To combat that challenge, she said they came up with an idea that will help out vendors or local producers for the farm market portion of the events, and still offer attendees a variety of fresh items to choose from – the community counter.

“We came up with the idea of having a community counter. Say someone grows the best strawberries or has the best jam, they can consign with us – though they must comply with all state laws – and we’ll sell their items at Saturdays on the Square at our community counter or counters, depending on how many items we have,” she said.

Clapper said one of the keys to the community counter being successful will be making certain that multiple people or vendors aren’t selling the same items.

“We’ll be limiting it in an effort to keep variety and help out the vendors that come on board,” she said.

Applications to participate in Saturdays on the Square are available at the chamber. Clapper said anyone interested in learning more about this new take on an old event, or who has an idea for possible themes or features for it can stop in at the chamber, 203 E. Walworth St., Elkhorn or call (262) 723-5788.


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