BY JENNY TOTTEN, COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR, THE HUB
Are you working to bring energy into your community? Do you want to see more people in your downtown spaces? Are there a number of local craftspeople, artists, farmers, and other entrepreneurs in your region that you’d like to bring together?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you may want to consider hosting a single-day monthly event to bring community members together for food and fun, and to support local businesses. These events are often less cumbersome to implement than a weekly farmers market or a multi-day festival, and bring in a wide audience of supporters from the community. They are a low-risk way for new product-based businesses in your community to engage with and test a customer-base without having large inventories. These monthly events can grow into weekly market opportunities as more community members become engaged.
As part of the Cultivate WV program, the Montgomery & Smithers team, working with local WVU Extension personnel, was awarded a mini-grant to create a First Friday event at the Smithers Gateway Center during the warmer months. Each month, residents and visitors alike can experience local farm-grown foods, artwork, youth activities, and food trucks. Communities throughout the state are holding similar monthly events in Buckhannon, Hinton, and Grafton, among others.