A typical summer in Downtown Appleton is bustling with activities and events. Thousands of customers and attendees hit the sidewalks of College Ave to shop the local stores, dine outside at local eateries, and of course patronize events like the Downtown Appleton Farm Market and the Heid Music Summer Concert Series on Thursday evenings.  Due to uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, many events have pivoted and been reimagined in various online and virtual formats. 

Appleton Downtown Inc.’s (ADI) mission is to make Downtown Appleton a vibrant and accessible destination for business, learning, living and leisure.  That mission will hold true this summer as ADI transforms the community-favorite events to accommodate new safety measures and regulations as well as bringing events directly to community members virtually. 


The Wisconsin Department of Health Services indicates farm markets in Wisconsin are considered essential businesses that may remain open because they provide a critical food resource.  The Downtown Appleton Farm Market will begin outside on College Avenue starting Saturday, July 4 from 8:00am-12:30pm and will continue every Saturday morning through October 31.   

“The 2-week delay in the start of the Farm Market here in Downtown Appleton will allow us to make sure we have adequate time to put new regulations and safety measures into action,” states Jennifer Stephany, executive director of Appleton Downtown Inc. “Being able to still host our weekly Downtown Appleton Farm Market allows us to continue supporting the local farmers in the area, provide a safe food resource for the community, and keep engaging and sharing that Downtown Appleton is, and will be, here for you during this time of uncertainty.”  

ADI and the City of Appleton’s Health Department have been working side by side to put in place the necessary regulations to ensure the safety of not only customers at the Downtown Appleton Farm Market, but also the precautions needed for the safety of staff/volunteers and farm market vendors. 

"Fruits and vegetables that are grown locally and eaten soon after harvesting retain more of their nutrients than those that are shipped from further locations and sit on supermarket shelves for long periods of time,” says Kurt Eggebrecht, City of Appleton Health Officer. “The Appleton Farm Market also provides economic benefits. The money that is spent in the local community is circulated within it, which has long term effects such as preserving and creating local jobs.” 

With these new regulations and precautions in place, the Downtown Appleton Farm Market will look different than past years.  Some of those slight alterations to the farm market will include: 

  • Vendors: At this time, only produce and pre-packaged foods vendors are allowed at farm markets.  Those at the market will be following additional guidelines for cleaning/disinfecting their booths, using tables as barriers from customers to limit contact, etc. No Arts & Crafts vendors, hot foods, and entertainment activities are permitted at this time.  
  • Layout of the event: The total number of vendors will be decreasing to about 50-60 vendors each week, but the footprint of the event will still stretch 4 blocks of College Ave (Appleton St to Drew St) to allow at least 10 feet of space between each vendor. 
  • For more information on the new rules and regulations from the state, please visit the Farm Market tab at this site: 

Customers are encouraged to also practice social distancing, keeping 6 feet away from other customers and vendors, limit browsing of items, and limit the number of family members who attend the market.  Additional resources such as a map/list of vendors will be available on Appleton Downtown’s website to help customers navigate and plan their visit as best as possible. 

“As we begin working through the different phases of recovery and regulations begin to be lifted, the Downtown Appleton Farm Market will adjust with it,” says Stephany. “We are getting creative with a few online platforms to support the Arts & Craft vendors and others that cannot join us at the start.  As new changes occur throughout the summer, the farm market will adjust to have others join us.” 


Thursday nights with live music will look different at the start of the summer, as well.  The Heid Music Summer Concerts series will begin a month later than normal but will still bring you great local music every Thursday starting July 2 through September 24, a total of 13 shows. 

Stephany states, “As it is still unclear as to how quickly the state will move through phases of recovery, we are researching several options on how best to share live music with the community.  Just like there’s several phases in place from the government, we have different phases for the concert series that will run alongside them.”  

The Heid Music Summer Concert Series will begin with virtual live-streamed concerts.  ADI will produce these concerts with the band at OuterEdge Stage.  Viewers will be able to rock out from their homes and backyards, but still support and enjoy live local musicians from the area by tuning to Appleton Downtown’s Facebook Page.  

As restrictions are lifted, small audiences will be allowed in to the OuterEdge to enjoy the bands live, while still livestreaming with the rest of the community.  The final phase will be moving the concerts outdoors to Jones Park and being able to allow concert-goers to join the band live with social distancing still in effect.  Most likely, entry points would be limited so crowd numbers will be controlled to fit within the required crowd gathering size. 

“Utilizing Jones Park for the final phase/step when the time allows, enables those social distancing measures to be put in place with a larger event footprint,” shares Stephany. “By having the concerts start a month later than normal, we are hoping that these next phases of gathering may still happen during the 3-month run and in-person live music may be able to occur in some capacity. It is always our top priority to keep event attendees, staff/volunteers, musicians safe; we won’t sacrifice live music, we are just adapting to provide it in a safe manner for all.”   

Band line up for the Heid Music Summer Concert Series will be announced mid-June as details get finalized.  More exciting announcements on how the Lunchtime Live series and a new Downtown Creates... promotion will be shared in the upcoming weeks. 

While summer is certainly going to look different across the nation, state, and locally, Appleton Downtown Inc. Is committed to provide as many of the same opportunities in new formats. 
To stay up to date with all summer events and happenings in Downtown Appleton, be sure to follow us on Facebook - CLICK HERE.

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