We are the unofficial information desk, the lost and found department, the managers of the music tent, and the guys you go to for a quick chat. In between we play music, we promote local bands, and we tell market shoppers about the pasties at Tomblers bakery, Aladdin’s famous falafels, and the salad mixes at Salvaterra’s. Our voices can be heard all over downtown Easton as we use the mighty microphone to be a human billboard for our vendors. We are the announcers of the Easton Farmers’ Market: Curt Ehly and Paul Strikwerda.
About six years ago our market manager Megan McBride heard that I, Paul, made a living as a voice-over artist. I record eLearning programs, promotional videos, audio books, guided tours, and commercials. My recording studio is in the basement of our Wilson Borough home.
My wife and I are weekly EFM shoppers because we want to know who grows our food, harvests our honey, and bakes our breads. We love meeting our friends in the circle while we enjoy a cup of Fieldstone coffee with a delicious danish from the Flour Shop. We see the seasons change, bringing new, fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, wonderful wines, and colorful flowers. When young talent enters the music tent, we stop and listen. We sit around the fountain watching kids play with their grandparents, and dogs salivating at Breakaway Farms bacon.
When Megan asked me if I was interested in volunteering as an announcer, I didn’t have to think long. Curt showed me the ropes, and in a matter of weeks Centre Square was mine! As an emcee, I’ve endured heat waves, arctic temperatures, torrential rain, and heavy winds. I’ve seen political protests and witnessed flash mobs surprising us with a song and dance routine. I’ve heard the thunderous roar of hundreds of motorcycles as they were circling the square, and I’ve seen giant zucchinis on racetracks battling for first prize. I observed how Bacon Fest started as a small market event and grew into a phenomenon attracting tens of thousands of people.
When I threw out my back and was unable to get up, I was surrounded by Easton Ambassadors who came to the rescue. And when I was down with a stroke and could barely speak, Curt stepped up and kept going.
Because it’s such a predictable fixture in our city, it’s easy to forget how special our Farmers’ Market really is. It’s almost completely run by volunteers who get up at the crack of dawn to set everything up. At one o’clock in the afternoon they come back to break everything down again. Week after week after week. Volunteers run the info tent, volunteers sell our shirts and hoodies, they hand out the EBT tokens, and they run all the special events. Why do they do it? Because they believe in creating community. They believe in creating a safe, fun, and nutritious space where people can come together.
No matter our political affiliation, our gender, our heritage, sexual orientation, or religion, we all like fresh, healthy food, delicious drinks, and good company. That’s the market for you, and we, the announcers, are in the thick of it, welcoming you with open arms.
Since Father’s Day weekend, 17-year old Skyler Simpson joined our team, adding her voice and her choice of music. Thank goodness for a younger generation willing to step up and join in! If you’d like to be part of this experience and feel you can contribute, come to the info desk and let us know. We’d love to have you.
It takes a town to make a market!