Maxwell Street Market reopens with live music, food on Chicago's Near West Side

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Maxwell Street Market opened for the season on Sunday.

For 110 years, locals have been able to find a little bit of everything at the market.

The Maxwell Street Market is one of the city's great traditions, shining a light on just how authentic and creative Chicago is.

"I just -- I can't explain it, but it really does feel good to be out and about and again talking (to) all these people," said Ken Wright.

For a few hours Sunday, the shopping goes back to old fashioned bargaining as vendors fill the street with a wide variety of products and food.

"It's nice. It's just a joy seeing people," said vendor, Bruce Palombo. "It's just an enjoyable day."

Palombo has been doing this since 1966, selling pens, sunglasses or even some kitchenware, which are all open to bargaining.

It's a traditional form of retail these vendors are anxious to get back to.

"Before internet, before superstars, that's where the immigrants always went," he said. "It's a nice place."

Other vendors are first timers.

Chris and Christine McKnight recently moved to Chicago and brought tons of bracelets with them. They sell precious stones at markets all across the country, but not many can match the atmosphere of Chicago's street market.

"We've read that this is the longest market in Chicago, and we figured we'd give it a shot and it looks like a lot of nice stuff here," they said.

On top of the great bargains, it's a special sight to see that face-to-face interaction returning to the city.

Many were able to catch some of the best street food in Chicago, live music, a unique mix of handmade crafts and much more for a day of family fun at 800 South Des Plaines St.

The opening went on from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, and it's even more critical for these vendors this year after dealing with the ups and downs of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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