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During the summer months, 20,000 or so people every other week attend an outdoor farmers’ market in downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
You can buy fresh produce, grab some breakfast or early lunch and listen to live music.
Perhaps just as important is people running into each other, catching up and sharing updates.
A lot of times conversations between two people (or two groups of people) go something like that.
“Oh hi. Good to see you here.”
“Yeah, good to see you, too. Aren’t these markets great and the weather is so nice.”
“Yup. We come down here for….”
Then conversations can go into non-market related catch-up. Here’s what’s new with the family, the job, etc. etc.
The farmers’ markets aren’t just a time to shop, they are clearly also a time and place to catch-up with people that we know but may not run into daily. And of course sometimes we run into people we see daily, too. We chat with them as well.
Finally, people take pride of these events. Have you seen how many post pictures from them on their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts?
“Look, I’m at the cool market.”
“The weather is so nice. Come on down.”
“My friend has a booth for his new business.”
And so on. People take pride in them.
Community events like this are great ways to feel connected, catch up and enjoy parts of cities. They are part of our experiences and with that part of our stories.
In the summer of 2017, I went to my first farmers market after dark. The crowd a slightly different but many of the things mentioned above two years ago also apply for the night one.
There’s more drinking and less produce buying at the night one but still of chatting and connecting.