The O’Fallon Progress
When the highly anticipated Vine Street Market opens Saturday, the O’Fallon Garden Club’s annual plant sale will be a centerpiece in the festivities.
The perennials, annuals, shrubs, herbs and vegetables the club members grow at their homes or in their greenhouses will be among the offerings at this O’Fallon farmer’s market kick-off.
About 25 club members have grown the plants and flowers from seeds, said Garden Club President Annie Skaggs.
Both the Vine Street Market and O’Fallon’s Community Garden are under the city’s Parks and Recreation Department umbrella.
Normally, the plant sale is held the week before, but they were happy to move it to the new market.
“We wanted to do our part,” Skaggs said. “We also feel that there will be a lot of people. This is supposed to be a nice gathering spot. It will be a good thing for O’Fallon and show off the nice historic downtown district.”
The downtown market will operate for 24 weeks from the second Saturday in May to the third Saturday in October, from 8 a.m. to noon (May 11 to Oct. 19), rain or shine.
Fresh fruits and vegetables from within a 100-mile radius, artisanal items and homemade culinary goods will fill booths at the downtown O’Fallon Station — inside and out.
It is located near the corner of First Street and Vine. Official address is: 212 E. First St. The site is bordered by Vine Street on the west, First Street to the south, Apple Street to the east, and the railroad tracks to the north.
The city’s Horticulturist Sarah Burton, who is the Market Coordinator, said for Saturday’s grand opening there will be brief opening remarks before the bell rings to open the market at 8 a.m.
“The Vine Street Market is in full swing. We are really excited about it, and how it will bring the community together,” she said.
The 35 vendors in attendance will be selling meat, hanging basket flowers, eggs, produce, soaps, jewelry, wine, baked goods, stationary, canned craft beer, bath products, BBQ sauce, plants, dog treats and cut flowers, she said.
The booth space has sold out. Burton mentioned special promotions and items for kick-off.
“People can purchase a tumbler and reusable cotton shopping bag combo and receive a 10 percent discount at Sweet Katie Bee’s, The CoffeeHouse Company and Fezziwig’s booths at the market as well as in their stores. The combo can be purchased prior to the opening day of the Market at the Katy Cavins Community Center and at the Market in the information booth inside O’Fallon Station. The combo costs $15,” she said.
“Dogs on a leash are welcome and Furchild is sponsoring pet stations with water and free poop bags,” she said.
A face painter will be in attendance for the kids and the O’Fallon Historical Society will have a booth with a popup history display about the city, she said.
Live music sponsored by Avenue Realty will be from 9 a.m. to noon, sponsored by Avenue Realty.
Mayor Herb Roach said the city will have signage and several volunteers will help direct cars to the public parking areas. He looks forward to this new boost for the downtown area.
“It will be a lively atmosphere with music, other entertainment, and shaded outdoor seating. For years, the residents of O’Fallon have asked for a farmer’s market,” he said.
“There is a lot of buzz about the market. We expect it to be a popular Saturday staple in downtown and a benefit to the community. Not only will the market be a place for O’Fallon businesses and residents to purchase or sell their goods, it will also be a community gathering place. And once the shoppers are done at the market, many will stay in downtown to shop, eat, and enjoy the day,” he said.
City leaders viewed the project as a central gathering place in the heart of the community — to be attractive to residents, visitors and businesses. The proposed multipurpose community plaza design for the 1.7-acre space was part of the downtown revitalization and economic initiative Destination O’Fallon, which was approved in 2016.
In addition to Burton’s and the Parks and Recreation Department’s hard work making this happen, the city staff has been working with the businesses too.
“The business owners in the downtown area are also starting to cooperate on upcoming events and attractions. We think that this new partnership will pay great dividends for downtown, and anyone visiting the area,” Roach said.
Roach said on the first day of the Market, the Downtown District will unveil their new brand.
“The Downtown District will have several ambassadors and local business owners at the market and around downtown. They will be on hand to tell visitors everything they want to know about downtown, including attractions, stores, and what events they have planned for the coming year,” he said.
“Members of the Downtown District have been working with the city over the past six months to create their new branding, a new website listing events in the district, and visual landmarks. This group has a lot of energy and is going to make downtown an awesome place,” he said.
The Community Garden, at Smiley and State streets, transformed an eyesore old trailer park into a thing of beauty for the city nine years ago. The O’Fallon Garden Club maintains it and is responsible for its growth and programs.
“I am amazed at the transformation,” said Skaggs, who moved here in 2012 with her husband, Charlie Pitts.
Longtime gardeners, he is the club treasurer.
“Whenever we’re working in the garden beds, people will slow down and roll down their windows and say things like, ‘I love what you guys are doing,’” she said.
“It is a little jewel box in the city, with the different colors and styles and scents,” Skaggs said.
Because it is the community garden, Skaggs said she wants it clear residents can come by any time.
“People wonder when they can take tours. It’s city property. They are welcome 365 days a year,” she said. “We really want people to take in the enjoyment and walk around.”
The O’Fallon Garden Club meets the first Tuesday of every month, locations vary. Speakers are available at every meeting. The next one will be at the Rotary Club’s Rock Springs Park cabin.
- For more information about the Vine Street Market, visit
- For more information about the O’Fallon Garden Club, visit their Facebook page:
- For more information about the Downtown District, visit: http://downtownofallon.org/;
- The downtown pavilion is available for rentals and events. For more information about rentals and events at the O’Fallon Station, visit: http://ofallonstation.com/;
- The Market Rules and Regulations are a PDF document here: http://theofallonstation.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Vine-Street-Market-at-OFallon-Station-Rules-Regulations.pdf;
- For more information about the O’Fallon Parks and Recreation Department, visit www. http://ofallonparksandrec.com/ or call 618-624-0139; and
- For more information about the Destination O’Fallon initiative, visit www.ofallonillinois.org/.