Sunday, December 05, 2010

Cheyenne's Tuesday farmers' market moves downtown in June

While spending my allowance Saturday at the Cheyenne Winter Farmers' Market at the Depot, I ran into Sara Burlingame-Thomas. Whenever there's a farmers' market or progressive cause, Sara can't be far away. Most of the time she's leading the charge.

Back when Sara was proprietor of the now-defunct Sara's Breads, she started up an alternative market, held each Tuesday in a parking lot on Yellowstone Road just a bit north of Dell Range and about three blocks from my house. The market is sandwiched between Cool River, the neighborhood liquor store, and a chain bread store that makes some nice sweet rolls. It's a small lot, but it's been home to the market for years.

Sara says that in June 2011, the market will move to the Depot Plaza downtown. My neighborhood will miss it, but it will be a big boost to downtown. That means that the plaza will be lively at least three nights a week each summer. There will be the Tuesday market, the Friday evening concerts and the big Saturday market that begins the week after Frontier Days ends. During Frontier Days, the plaza stages nightly concerts. A half-block away is the Atlas Theatre with its nightly melodrama, sometimes featuring yours truly as emcee.

But before and after CFD, tumblin' tumbleweeds are the only things moving downtown on many nights. There are a few bars and restaurants. People come out to see the films at the Lincoln Theater. But there are too many vacant downtown buildings, some that have been empty for decades. And many businesses close at 5, even in summer.

Sara says that the market wants to feature live music and work out some deals with local restaurants to get people to stay downtown to eat after buying their grass-fed beef and lettuce and and bedding plants from vendors. Great ideas.

Now, if we can only come up with a creative idea to fill in downtown's Big Gaping Hole. Just filling it in would be a start. What about a community garden?

I'll plant the first seed.

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