Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Webb City Sentinel column - 9/10/11

Some time ago, I received training from Project for Public Spaces, a New York nonprofit, on placemaking. It keeps me mindful of what makes a place welcoming – like shade in the heat, shelter from the rain, benches for resting, quiet music, things to do. One of their recommendations was “The Power of Ten”. To draw people to a destination, have ten major activities for people to do, each of which should have ten components. In other words, to draw people to the market have produce, meat, flowers, baked goods, jams, jellies…, and have a meal, music, places to sit and watch, vendors to visit with. Several customers take advantage of the trail next to the market and walk or bike. To create a true destination, we should have nine other things folks could do while visiting Webb City.

Well, this weekend, we’re going to come pretty close to the Power of Ten in downtown Webb City. In addition to the market, at 1:00 Ninth Hour will perform at the Route 66 Theater. Profits from that event (it’s is $10 per person) support the R-7 Foundation which provides scholarships to our graduating seniors. At 4:00 and 7:00 the Route 66 Theater is showing Aliens and Cowboys. From 5:00 to 8:00, the Chamber is sponsoring their last Cruise Night of the year. Stop by Bruners at Main and Daugherty. They’re open till 4 on Saturdays and have all sorts of things you might not expect at a pharmacy – especially gifts and cards. And, of course, we have several restaurants downtown where you can enjoy dinner. There’s a new one right next to the Sentinel – Patties & Franks, open 11 to 7 Monday through Saturday with burgers, dogs, chili, and fries – just like the good old days except with more toppings!

At the market Saturday, we’ll have our monthly Art Market and Old No. 60, the restored streetcar, will make runs at the hour and half hour from 9 to 11. Rides are free.

We’re celebrating Market Roots this Saturday. We’ll have a table showing where, in the mists of time, our food originated. For example, peaches were first found in China, corn and squash in the Americas and watermelon in Africa. Each of our vendors and volunteers will have signs showing where they were born and from whence their ancestors came. Right off the top of my head, I can think of vendors who were born in Germany, England, Canada and Laos. Not surprisingly, given our nearness to Oklahoma, many of our vendors can claim Native American roots.

In keeping with the theme, the music will be by the Tri-State Kokopelli Flute Circle. And, after hearing them at the market last Friday, I can guarantee that you’ll want to be at the market sometime between 9:30 and 11:30 when they’re playing. They kept the benches filled with listeners last week.

Breakfast at the Market on Saturday will benefit CROP Hunger Walk. On Sunday, September 25, members of Sacred Heart Catholic Church and Central United Methodist Church will join other Catholics, United Methodists, Christians, Episcopalians, Lutherans and Presbyterians for this annual interfaith walk. It raises money for and awareness about hunger. One-half of the money raised this year will stay in our area, feeding folks through Crosslines, Lafayette House, the Salvation Army, and Children’s Haven. The rest will work around the world to feed refugees fleeing natural and manmade disaster and people living with chronic poverty.

Friday, we’ll have meatloaf, au gratin potatoes, green beans, cake and drink for $6. Gospel Strings will play. Now that the weather has moderated, Redings Mill Bakery is expanding into chocolates. Jamie plans to have chocolate-covered peanut butter balls and turtles, in addition to their artisan breads. I told Jamie that “butter ball” was certainly an apt description of what I’ll soon look like with those temptations. But wait!! Didn’t I hear that chocolate and peanut butter are good for you?
See you at the market!