Saturday, September 3, 2011

Farmers Markets and a Peaceful Labor Day Weekend in Binghamton, NY

Today we visited the Vestal, NY farmers market and were treated to a surprise:  ice cream!  It was the market's 30th birthday and they celebrated with bathroom size cups of vanilla ice cream (local dairy) with your choice of local honey, local maple syrup or local granola.  Yum!  Thank you!

Yesterday, in downtown Binghamton at the Farmers Market, it was the last Brown Bag Friday concert of the season.  I leaned against a wall and listened to the Energee Jazz Trio.  There was a very strong smell of onions in the air, while shoppers browsed the booths selling sweet corn, onions, garlic, shallots, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplants (I don't think I've ever seen such big eggplants in our markets before), tomatoes, cucumbers, summer and winter squash, grapes, blueberries, potatoes, cabbage, Gala and Ginger Gold apples, Pennsylvania peaches/cantaloupes, watermelons, baked goods and local honey.  A breeze blew.  It was only in the 60's.  The coolness of the breeze whispered that fall would soon be here.  Next week, the crowds of noontime shoppers at the market won't be as big without the music, and the market will begin its slow slide into the fall season.  The summer crops will disappear soon and winter squash, honey, onions, garlic, apples, pears and grapes will rule.

Friday night was First Friday in downtown Binghamton.  On the Peacemaker's Stage by our downtown River Trail, the Binghamton Philharmonic Brass played.  One thing you will not readily note from this picture is that the entire building to the right is vacant.  I hate to sound that sour note, but Binghamton still has a long way to go to be truly vibrant once again.  The River Trail, and these concerts, though, are a good start.

This is the first concert of a series.  First Friday has already been successful in drawing people to downtown on Friday night and I hope the other concerts (without First Friday) will be a draw, too.

Why the "Peacemaker's Stage"? To the side is a statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A few blocks away an old van was parked, decorated in what one could call neo-hippie.

Nearby, an a capella group from Binghamton University sang.  I am sorry that I did not catch the name.  They started out with an energetic "Fat Bottomed Girls" made famous by Queen.

Today, it turned hot and sticky, and we are running our air conditioners. (Rare for September here!) But for now, I will sleep dreaming of the sweet corn I ate tonight (from the Vestal market) and the bounty of the summer, and how lucky we are here in Binghamton to have escaped the worst of Irene.

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