Howard Street Exchange

By Jesse Campbell (jesse.campbell@mountaintimes.com)



Article Published: Oct. 31, 2013 | Modified: Oct. 31, 2013
Howard Street Exchange

Locals stroll downtown during the last Howard Street Exchange festival of the season.

Photo by Jesse Campbell



On Sunday, another installment of the Howard Street Exchange street festival delighted downtown Boone with music, dancing, crafts and a few craft beverages.

The inaugural street fest was held June 9 to a strong reception from the community. It has since become a monthly event, with Sunday’s being the last of 2013.

“The reception was very positive,” said organizer Rio Tazewell, who also founded the new Watauga County-based social network, Boone Community Network.

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.”

Boone Community Network has also played an intricate role in promoting the festival, Tazewell said.
The network uses popular components featured on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Instead of “Liking” pages and other interests, users will use hashtags, like on Twitter, to find other users who are like them or share those same interests.

Another unique feature of the site is it will also offer a community calendar, so users can create events in real time.

Like other networking sites, BCN will not target a specific audience, just as long as they live in Watauga County.

“This site will be easier to search for specific things,” Tazewell said. “It is user-friendly and easy to navigate.”

Visit http://www.boonecommunitynetwork.com to get started.

Additional Images

Locals stroll downtown during the last Howard Street Exchange festival of the season.
Photo by Jesse Campbell

Artisan jewelry and crafts abounded the Howard Street Exchange festival in downtown Boone Sunday.
Photo by Jesse Campbell

Area college students use the festival as an opportunity to make their voices heard on a variety of issues.
Photo by Jesse Campbell

There was no shortage of art at Sunday’s Howard Street Exchange festival.
Photo by Jesse Campbell

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