Summer events to foster a sense of community

Events that bring residents of a community together in one place had been on the back burner as the world was and is continuing to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Communities scaled back on public events in the hopes of limiting crowds and preventing the spread of the virus but with the recent lifting of restrictions, the return of spring and summer marks a great time for local leaders to add more events to their community calendars.

Here are some fun event ideas that can help communities reconnect in the months to come.

Crafts festival: The digital advertising agency NMPi noted in a report titled “Impact of COVID-19 on Arts & Crafts Retail” that the rise in pandemic-related self-isolation led to an increased demand for arts and crafts. As the world emerges from the pandemic, community leaders can provide residents an opportunity to showcase their newfound talents by hosting a crafts festival. Invite established professionals to showcase and sell their wares and encourage local hobbyists to do the same. This is a great way to promote local businesses and connect residents with neighbours who love to spend time working on arts and crafts.

Concert series: Summer concert series are fun and potentially lucrative for local businesses. A 2016 analysis of a popular local concert series in northern New York State determined that a summer concert series sponsored by the Disabled Persons Action Organization allowed more than $1.6 million to flow through local economies. That’s welcome news for local businesses that have been hit hard by the pandemic, and it’s also welcome news for leaders who want to rebuild a sense of community in their towns and cities. Families and local residents can enjoy live music and take pride in knowing that each ice cream cone, hot dog, or cold beverage they buy at a concert is helping local businesses rebound from a tough stretch.

Farmers’ market: Another way to promote local businesses and public health is to host weekly farmers’ markets. Buying locally grown foods greatly reduces food miles, a term that refers to the distance food travels before it reaches grocery stores. Reduced food miles mean less fuel consumption and reduced air pollution, both of which benefit the environment and human health. But farmers’ markets do more than that, as they provide access to healthy foods to individuals who might otherwise be unable to find fresh fruits and vegetables. And farmers’ markets support local farmers and growers, reassuring consumers that their hard-earned money is going back into their own communities.

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