Held on the first Thursday of the month from May through September, the Auburn Co-op is a celebration of the vibrancy and culture of Auburn’s community. Equal parts street-fair and street-party, the Auburn Co-op is now in its second year running. And this year, the Co-op is bringing the celebration to the streets of Old Town Auburn.
In 2017, the Co-op came together under the shared sponsorship of the Downtown Business Association and the City of Auburn’s Explore Auburn under the leadership of City Economic Development Director Mora Rowe with a vision to create a new level of vibrancy in the Downtown core.
Now on its second year, the Co-op is expanding its reach and vision, bringing the vibrant community celebration to a new location in Old Town Auburn.
Auburn Co-op Moves to Old Town Auburn
The historical district hosted its first Co-op event Thursday, June 6, 2018, and the community came out in full to participate.
Vendors, businesses, and local non-profits lined the streets of Old Town Auburn, from Washington and Commercial Streets and up Sacramento Street.
Old Town Auburn businesses brought their creativity and enthusiasm out to the festivities. Sierra Moon Goldsmith brought their legendary jewelry-making expertise to the public; their goldsmiths and jewelry designers offered event attendees the opportunity to make their own sterling silver or copper necklaces and pendants.
“We had over 100 adults and kids come through,” said Shawn Baldwin, owner of Sierra Moon Goldsmith.
Kelly Cunningham, owner of the newly renovated Park Victorian boutique bed and breakfast that overlooks the Old Town Auburn historic district, was impressed by the community turnout.
“Having had a booth at the previous 6 co-ops, this was by far the most successful!” said Cunningham. “The vendors were outstanding, open to talking, collaborating, and most were hyper-local. There was truly something for everyone there.”
Event attendees got a true taste of Auburn at the Co-op. Hillview Organic Farm and Four Tines Farm brought in this season’s best local produce straight from the farm. “As a vendor and auburn resident I am so happy to get to work with my favorite fellow farmers and small producers to participate in this fun night every month,” said Four Tines Farm’s Courtney McDonald.
Bella Familia Wood Fired Pizza and Old Town Pizza were serving up slices for a hungry crowd. And sweet treats from Conscious Creamery, Cowtown Creamery, and Auntie JoJo’s Hawaiian Shave Ice offered attendees the perfect way to cool down on the warm, summer evening.
And, of course, there were plenty of adult beverages to keep temperatures down and spirits high, offered by local breweries like Auburn Alehouse and Crooked Lane Brewing Company. Tap and Vine brought their signature Ruby Red grapefruit-and-sparkling-wine cocktail to the party. And if you needed caffeine to stay up late for the festivities, there was plenty to be found courtesy of The Pour Choice, Verve Coffee, and Clementine Coffee Roasters.
Two separate music areas featured performances from Northern California bluegrass/ folk artists Manzanita and “psychedelic pop” Sacramento-born artist Anton Barbeau. Manzanita performed at the inaugural Auburn Co-op held in Downtown Auburn last summer, so it was fitting to have them return to kick off the first Co-op event held in the Old Town district.
Auburn’s non-profit organizations were out to celebrate the community at the Auburn Co-op. J Ross Parrelli, Auburn-raised rapper and indie/ recording Artist and Auburn Hip Hop Congress leader, praised the spirit of community that was present at the event. “Our community is more solid than gold.”
“Auburn has been a huge influence in my life, most significantly in the cultivation of community,” said Parrelli. “The way Auburn comes together to celebrate, acknowledge, and encourage local businesses and our community to grow together, is going to be the very reason Auburn does and will continue to shine throughout the foothills.”
Local artist and owner of Art for Children Dana Ross was one of the 80+ vendors in attendance. “The energy of the people coming through my painting booth was one of the most positive experiences I’ve ever had,” Ross remarked.
Even Auburn’s furriest residents came out for an evening of fun at the Auburn Co-op; dogs are frequent attendees and warmly welcomed to the family-friendly event. A pop-up dog park and cooling station ensured pooches were able to chill out on the warm June evening.
What to Expect from the Auburn Co-op
The Auburn Co-op event is a free celebration with something for everyone - local food and drinks, seasonal farm fresh offerings, live music and entertainment, artisan goods, as well as crafts and activities for kids.
One thing you can expect from the Auburn Co-op is the unexpected. Each event will have a new line-up of entertainment, music, activities, and attractions. Old Town Auburn business owners are already planning new ways to participate, excitedly preparing for the next event on Thursday, July 5, 2018.
“There were so many happy people walking around seeing our cute little slice of Auburn,” said Old Town Auburn merchant Robyn Beer. “We saw folks that normally don’t venture to our part of town. I was really pleasantly surprised how many people showed up.” Beer, owner of Robyn Marie’s Vintage Clothing and Jewelry Gallery, has several plans underway for next month’s Co-op, including an interactive project for event attendees. “I’m very excited for the next one!”
Images courtesy of Jeremy Burke.