Palmya, NJ is very much a picture of a town from a bygone era. Much of it is built between the Delaware River and the old rail line, harkening back to it’s history as a transportation hub, and much of its architecture is a reminder of that world. It is a reminder of a history in which functionality and art were fused together by design.
One of the most interesting throw-backs to Palmyra’s past is its band shell. It stands, nestled in a small park and under the shade of the trees, next to Palmyra’s borough hall. It’s a quaint reminder of a time when coming together as a town for social events was key to generating both civic pride and identity. In the fourteen years I’ve been here the band shell area has been a forgotten space. That’s not to say it’s not been used, there are concerts and movie nights during the Summer months. But the time when the band shell was the heart of the borough’s social identity had long since passed.
It’s time may have just come again 1.
On Thursday, after some excellent work by three of Palmyra’s civic leaders 2, Palmyra held it’s first Farmer’s Market. And the community came out.
Two food trucks parked out on Broad Street and did a steady business. Several vendors from outside of town came and sold fresh guacamole 3, produce, kettle corn, and artisan breads and pastries. Established Palmyra businesses like the Fresh Produce Of Palmyra and Barista Cafécame out to cater to hungry and thirsty market-goers. They were joined by borough newcomer Live Love Donuts, and their irresistible treats were gratefully consumed as a perfect after dinner dessert 4. Even the Fire Department was out, recruiting new members for their important work.
All the while crowds mingled, or sat at some tables which appeared when a few neighbors said, “This market needs tables, I’ll get mine from my back yard.” People flavored their own slushies, listened to music 5, and showed the vendors Palmyra was worth the trip.
If market-goers were concentrating they may even have felt the smiles of Palmyra’s past being cast upon the scene. What unfolded was more than an example of a town with an identity. It demonstrated a community with a heart — and the Farmer’s Market was an amazing glimpse of its pulse.
- It’s not old, it’s retro. ↩
- Mindie Weiner, Lew Yetter, and Bernadette Russell. Just in case you were wondering. ↩
- As in, they made it in the bowl right in front of customers. ↩
- I never have understood why a donut is considered a breakfast food. Of course I eat them as a breakfast food — but… why? ↩
- If the stage were silent, after all, it would have been silly. ↩