Howard Street Exchange
Sometimes success gives way to increased demand, and Boone
Community Network is reaping those benefits.
Following the success of the inaugural Howard Street Exchange Street Festival, organizers are making plans for a follow-up act on Sunday, June 9, and hope to make it a monthly event.
The town of Boone has agreed to sponsor this month’s downtown event, which will take place from noon to 5 p.m. on Howard Street between Water and Depot streets.
“The reception was very positive,” said organizer Rio Tazewell, who also founded the new Watauga County-based social network, Boone Community Network. “Because of how well the event went, the town invited us to do it again. A lot of vendors that were there said they did pretty well making money … a couple of them actually sold out of merchandise.”
The street festival gives nonprofits, artists, musicians and other small businesses the chance to publicize their many talents and offerings, Tazewell said.
In keeping with the spirit of community, the vendor’s fee for a spot at the festival is free of charge.
“This is an opportunity to network, meet new people and become aware of local businesses you may not be aware of,” Tazewell said. “It’s really a community celebration of what’s here in Boone and an opportunity to help the local economy by giving local businesses and artists (the ability) to vend directly to the public in the downtown.”
Three sustainable development students at Appalachian State University developed the concept for the festival.
“These students got a grant from the New Economy Institute to promote strategies for localization and sustainability,” Tazewell said. “… Part of the summit was (them) wanting to put on a street festival.”
The students then approached BCN to organize and promote the event. BCN is currently in the process of launching a prototype social networking website that utilizes familiar components in Facebook and Twitter to promote more cohesion in the community, Tazewell said in a previous interview. The network, which can also be found on Facebook, strides to bridge the so-called gap between Boone and the university, Tazewell said.
Now that those students are on summer break, BCN has adopted the festival and hope to continue it.
Tazewell said more than 500 people visited the April 7 festival to sample the wares of 30 vendors, while enjoying the soulful tunes of six local bands. The musical lineup for June 9’s festival includes BPL, The Honey Chasers, Nomadic, Wave Lynx and BooneTang Mamas.
Anyone interested in securing a vendor’s spot can contact Tazewll at (firstname.lastname@example.org)