German Village Garten Club to open Gartenmarkt for public strolling May 8

Gary Seman Jr.
ThisWeek group
Jim Chakeres, president of the German Village Garten Club, stands at the Meeting Haus, 588 S. Third St. The Garten Club is allowing public strolling at the GartenMarkt on May 8 at the Meeting Haus. The event was limited to curbside pickup and delivery last year.

Another sign that German Village is getting back to normal: The German Village Garten Club will offer patrons the opportunity to stroll among the many plants that will be offered at this year’s GartenMarkt.

The annual event, free and open to the public, will be held 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 8 on the platz of the German Village Meeting Haus, 588 S. Third St.

Jim Chakeres, president of the Garten Club, said curbside pickup will return and the public shopping will be limited to groups of 10 people at a time. He added patrons shopping in the platz area must wear face coverings.

In addition to a number of plant sellers, there will be up to 10 vendors, none of whom will serve food, he said.

“Usually, we would have well more (vendors) than that, but we’re not closing the (Willow) street,” Chakeres said. “We’re doing a small open-air market.”

The GartenMarkt will have a selection of unique annuals and perennials as well as vegetables and herbs, he said.

Last year, the GartenMarkt was limited to curbside pickup because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The attendant Jazz & Juleps, which traditionally precedes the GartenMarkt the previous evening, was canceled last year.

Both are major fundraisers for the club.

As restrictions on public gatherings have eased, the Garten Club decided it could ease back into the browsing aspect of GartenMarkt, Chakeres said.

“I think we’re looking at this more as an opportunity for people in the community, not as a fundraiser," he said.

Jazz & Juleps, a party offering food and drinks normally held inside the Meeting Haus, will have to wait at least another year, he said.

“I don’t know that we’re ready to incorporate food and beverages,” he said.

The deadline to order merchandise online has passed, Chakeres said, but added ample supplies of plants will be available the day of the event, he said.

“We would encourage people to come out and buy their plants early because we don’t know what’s going to be available later this year,” Chakeres said.

Jim Thieken of Tiki Botanicals, 529 S. Third St., said he’s encouraged by Village Valuables returning May 15 and Actors’ Theatre of Columbus bringing back Shakespeare in Schiller Park, starting May 27.

Thieken, who co-founded the business with his wife, Candyce Thieken, said he’s recently seen an influx of out-of-town patrons.

“Things are opening back up, which is great,” said Thieken, who is planning to move the shop soon to the former Starbucks location, 650 S. High St.

gseman@thisweeeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary