PREAMBLE & PHOTOS BY CHRIS TIESSEN
‘This is like a scene out of ‘Yellowstone’,’ I exclaim to my TOQUE Partner, Cai Sepulis, as we wade through the crowd to get a better look. When we get closer to the action the sea of bodies parts – revealing a brilliant tableau that really could have come straight out of the popular cowboy-themed Paramount Network show or, possibly, the town of Stars Hollow.
To our left a large group of people done up in blue jeans, flannel shirts, and ten-gallon hats – cups of beer and cider in hand – laugh and joke and jostle. To our right, a sprightly milliner, dressed in a brown suede jacket decked out with foot-long tassels, models one of her fantastic hand-crafted cowboy hats to a couple of potential clients. In the background, the twangy sounds of a three-piece country band ring out above the din. And, straight ahead, what everyone has gathered around to witness: a valiant member of the crowd riding a large spinning, bucking, gyrating mechanical bull that – after an exciting (albeit short) ride – casts its human cargo onto the cushioned ground.
‘This is definitely a vibe,’ Cai almost gasps – mouth agape at all the magnificent sights and sounds.
It’s Friday night, late September, and Cai andI are attending the ‘Harvest Hoedown’ – a special evening event hosted by the St Jacobs Farmers’ Market. Folks have come to enjoy everything from live music and line dancing to craft beer and food vendors. But there’s more: fire pits and harvest arrangements, picnic areas and rodeo clowns, and a fantastic array of vendors you wouldn’t usually find on a regular Market day. And also, of course, the aforementioned mechanical bull. It’s an ambitious affair. And – based on the massive turnout and countless smiles on folks’ faces – a successful one, too.
For most of us the St Jacobs Farmers’ Market is something to do on Thursday or Saturday mornings: a destination for hot cider and doughy apple fritters and fresh meat and produce and a vast array of craft and antique and artisan vendors. Events like the ‘Harvest Hoedown’ and the upcoming Sip and Shop Holiday Night Markets (visit stjacobsmarket. com for info) are turning on its head this broadly-held conception of what the Market is. It’s a brilliant strategy. But don’t take my word for it.
Make the trip out to the Market District and take a look for yourself.