Carrboro Open Streets continues its success in second year

About 1,500 people attended the Carrboro Open Streets festival on Saturday. The event promoted recreational activities such as making smoothies on bicycles and dancing in the streets. (Staff photo by Cristobal Palmer)
Several hundred people attended the Carrboro Open Streets festival on Saturday. The event promoted recreational activities such as making smoothies on bicycles and dancing in the streets. (Staff photo by Cristobal Palmer)

On Saturday, April 12, the second annual Carrboro Open Streets festival was held on Weaver Street, emptying the road of its usual traffic and opening it up to residents to participate in various activities.

Weaver Street was a sight of celebration on the beautiful, sunny Saturday morning.  Families flocked around with their strollers while children drew with sidewalk chalk, tossed pizza, made smoothies with a bicycle blender, and honed their karate and yoga skills.

The lawn of Weaver Street Market was full of people, the line for Market Street Coffee & Ice Cream was out the door and the street itself was a collage of sidewalk chalk.  It was quite a sight to walk onto the street and see 5-year-olds doing yoga.

Eric Allman, who is the chairman for the Carrboro Bicycle Coalition and in charge of the festival, said the festival transforms the street to promote healthy activities for people of all ages.

“The goal of Open Streets is to recreate the street.  Activities include biking, a rock wall, yoga, rumba, a bike blender, jump ropes, (hula) hooping and many more fun things for everyone of all ages,” he said.

Allman said that Carrboro Open Streets began in 2013 after Performance Bike gave the Carrboro Bicycle Coalition a grant for $3,000.  This money and other donations from local individuals, businesses and nonprofits made it possible for the coalition to approach the town of Carrboro and complete a process for closing West Weaver Street to cars.

In addition to promoting recreational activities, there were several local businesses present at the festival.

Aidan’s Pizza, a family-owned local business, had a booth with pizza dough and allowed citizens to toss the dough to create a nice, flat pizza crust as if they were making it in the shop.

Kids and parents were flocking to the booth and to the owner of the pizza parlor, Thomas Kaczor, who was helping kids of all ages with their pizza tossing.  Kaczor said that the pizza parlor is named after his 2-year-old son and that this festival has been a joy to come out to because it is not only great for business, but it is also a fun family event.

Allman said that the event was a huge success last year and that the Carrboro Board of Aldermen decided that it should be a town-sponsored event that would be a part of the Recreation and Parks Department.

Due to the success and the new status of Carrboro Open Streets, a committee was created in the fall of 2013 to help plan this year’s event, and many of the same activities were included.  Businesses and nonprofits were also asked to contribute and to help sponsor events that would get residents to turn out.  The hard work paid off and the turnout for this year was once again a huge success.

Even Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle took part in the fanfare.

“I was there from 10 to 11, and I had a great time. We had fabulous weather,” she said.

Last year, the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention did estimates and determined that about 1,500 people showed up in 2013.  The counts for this year are not finalized yet.

Edited by Andy Bradshaw and Maddison Wood

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Links:

Carrboro Open Streets: http://carrboroopenstreets.com/

Aidan’s Pizza: http://www.aidanspizza.com/#!about/c1dtf

 

Author of the article

Sarah is Co-Editor of the Carrboro Commons and a journalism student at UNC-Chapel Hill.