Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Life On The Farm 071309: The Quad

This week, Burlington Farmers’ Market was co-opted by the Burlington International Waterfront Festival and/or the Lake Champlain Quadricentennial a.k.a. “The Quad”. It’s little confusing, but for us, Quadfest meant that instead of the park being the exclusive domain of the usual market vendors, there was a smattering of ‘unusual vendors’ taking up the remaining space. They were called the “Taste of Champlain Market” by event organizers.

(The unusual vendors)

Some of the ‘unusuals’ were raising money for local charities. My husband Dan bought three strawberry shortcakes (not all for himself) to support the Burlington City Arts (BCA) education scholarships, and we both had mocha-maple iced coffees, proceeds going to COTS (The Committee on Temporary Shelter, helping the homeless).

(The Scream)

These were complementary additions to the market, as they didn’t compete with anyone and they contributed to the positive flow of happy people that usually surround our Saturdays in the park. Sugar and caffeine, what’s not to love?

Did I forget to mention that the park and an adjacent parking lot were covered in tents, stages and tourists?

(The regular juggling guy)

We knew ahead of time to expect a crowd - but it was almost too much at times, and it felt claustrophobic.

(I am a claustrophobe so that might have just been me.) I’m grateful that so many of my customers came out to see us instead of avoiding the place altogether.

I lost track of the Bracelet Bandit in the sea of arms and legs; she has set up a box selling trinkets at the fountain for the past three weeks.

There’s a bit of an issue – she’s not associated with the either the Firehouse Gallery Artist’s Market or the Burlington Farmers’ Market, not paying the city’s space fees or licenses, and certainly not carrying that required liability insurance.

She’s not the first to try attaching herself to the market. I think it was only last year that someone backed their car into a parking spot and tried selling clothing; I spied her afterward in American Flatbread, hawking t-shirts to the tourists and barflies.

Some highlights of the day:

Morris Dancers.

I saw two little kids punch a gal dressed in a giant maple leaf costume, then run away squealing with laughter.

The costumed strawberry that was drumming up interest for the BCA stood in line for fifteen minutes with everyone else to get a samosa.

You’d think there’d be some privileges associated with volunteering to be dressed as a giant berry, like having a handler get lunch for you - but apparently not.

There was a pretty good guitar-playing cowboy entertaining us in the morning – don’t quote me on that - I’m not certain about the “cowboy” part. If your Stetson is purple does that make you a cowboy or just some old dude in a hat?

I wish we could have stayed to see it rain on the parade, but Dan had to get back to do chores – it is second cut after all - and there was no one available to cover the evening milking for him.