Grow Clarion holds farmers market, brings community together

The newest addition to Clarion’s Main Street, The Clarion River Brewing Company, hosted the Grow Clarion Summer Launch Party this past Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m.

The farmers market was sponsored by The Advisory Board for Leadership & Engagement; Clarion County Farmers Market Association; Clarion University Panhellic Council and the Clarion-Venango-Forest County Farm Bureau, an event where members of the community gathered to appreciate homegrown foods and goods.

With an open area for guests to travel to different stations, the Brewery was filled with people of all backgrounds who shared one common interest: to support local businesses and products. Kelly Ryan, who works for the Center for Leadership and Involvement at Clarion University, set up and organized the event with the help of her spring intern and senior communication major, Elyse Waters.

“The goal of putting together this farmers market is to bring students and community members together to buy locally, and show people that healthy food can be fun,” said Waters. An event that has been planned since January, Waters and other volunteers reached out to local businesses and organizations to take part in the market. Although the Grow Clarion Summer Launch Party is the first farmers market Grow Clarion has held, the idea grew off of Ryan’s event from this past fall, the Clarion Family Dinner at the Clarion County Park.

As friends and family entered the Brewery, they were greeted by groups of friendly volunteers from Clarion University, who guided them around the different stations set up within the open restaurant. Station activities varied anywhere from decorating bags for children to load their goodies in to make-your-own-homemade-butter table.

The Grow Clarion Summer Launch Party offered kids the chance to color and decorate their own bag to fill with healthy food. However, not all activities were geared towards kids, as adults stopped by tables to learn more about picking healthy options for meals.

Guests were surrounded by free samples of Clarion Farms Beef, Gruber Farms, Yeany’s Maple Syrup, Paul’s Pumpkin Patch and a table of herb seeds. Other informational tables included ones for Come Together Clarion and a compost and recycling table.

Junior Clarion University student, Nina Jonnet, attended the market and was impressed by the amount of community members that came together. “I thought it was a great way to unite the community and students of the university for such a great cause.”

Waters and Ryan hope to continue the tradition of the farmers market and spread awareness of eating local.

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