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Our community thrives at the Sunday market | Pinsker
Mac and Scooter, the fabulous, tail-wagging Dachshund-Beagle brothers, love walking with us to the Auburn International Farmers Market on summer Sundays.
Still a block away from the Auburn Station, we could already hear the sweet-voiced Mark Wayne singing oldies from the Beatles and many other great groups from my teenage years.
The gracious market volunteers are always happy to greet and treat "the boys," as they are known by many. Not enough can be said in praise of the volunteers' dogged determination to make the Auburn market the success it has turned out to be.
During the first couple of years, the market was often poorly attended and largely invisible. Now, however, it seems energized and vibrant, with hundreds of shoppers browsing their way through the wide variety of vendors.
Amazingly, our market was recognized in 2011 as one of the top 20 medium-sized farmers markets in the U.S. by the American Farmland Trust Association. Considering the state of the economy and the generally struggling Auburn downtown business climate, that is a significant accomplishment.
Each week, aside from the fresh flowers, produce, handicrafts and art, the market features special events. One Sunday made way for Kids Day, which included a special performance from the Children's Dance Theater. An appreciative audience cheered the girls on. The week before Cisco Morris was on hand to help us struggling gardeners. Other events include International Day, Senior Appreciation Day, and the annual Dog Days of Summer, when dogs of all sizes and shapes competed in a fashion parade. Mac and Scooter were among the winners when Dog Days first began.
Each week something different is there to surprise us.
But by far the best thing about our Sunday market is the sense of community. People are genuinely happy to be a part of it. We run into friends and acquaintances and catch up. We also chat with neighbors unknown to us, but with whom we have so much in common.
Mostly our commonalities have to do with types of love: love for healthy, fresh local foods, love of dogs, love of leisurely Sunday mornings and afternoons, love of Auburn, or just love of community in general.
The Sunday market helps me forget for a few precious moments that our economy seems unable to make the final turn toward solid recovery, that poverty, unemployment and homelessness persist in our local community, or that downtown Auburn seems afflicted with vacant store fronts.
I believe that this sense of community is the driving force that could ultimately help us solve some of these challenges.
So, many thanks go to the organizers and volunteers who make our Auburn International Farmers Market possible. Without it, Sunday mornings would be so much less fun.
Auburn resident John Pinsker is a retired public high school English teacher.