Carrboro isn’t commerical; it’s community

By Liz Thomas

Joining the staff of the Commons in January, all I knew about Carrboro was that it was a town of hippies. But of all the times I passed through, I had never seen any barefooted flower-power children that matched my pre-conceived notion of a hippie. I was aware of Carrboro’s love for organic, locally grown vegetables, and I worried I would be limited to writing about produce.
Paris of the Piedmont?
What if this small town would not have enough to offer a staff of journalists? Carrboro had never had a newspaper when the Commons started last fall, and maybe that was for good reason. To me, Carrboro was just a destination of the J Bus that I rarely visited because I was stuck in the university bubble of Chapel Hill.
I thought Chapel Hill was a stronger community because, even abroad, I can find someone wearing a Tar Heel baseball cap. This instant bond with Tar Heel fans is the same as my bond with ATLantians. Growing up in a famous city made me think that I had a strong community — a community that drank Coca-Cola, held Olympic Games and discussed the Braves when conversations went dry.
How could Carrboro-ites have a strong community? There is no easily recognizable, unifying symbol that defines Carrboro.
Maybe it is the advertising major in me, but I wanted to brand Carrboro. The Paris of the Piedmont did not suffice. Unless there were a breathtaking tower or a world-renowned museum that I somehow overlooked, Carrboro could not hold a candle to Paris.
Talent without the fame
When attending The Second Friday Art Walk for my first story, I discovered that Carrboro is an infinite creative outlet. Its impressive arts and music scene was enough to have me in awe. I had never noticed it before because Carrboro promoted local artists without the need of bringing in famous speakers or talents. Atlanta and UNC had conditioned me into thinking that towns had to be commercialized in order to be great. Without bragging rights of impressive enhancements, Atlanta and UNC would lose creditability
and hype; they would lose money.
But something besides money compels Carrboro to provide a rich array of opportunities and events.That was the difference between Carrboro and the communities I once considered more enriched.
Bigger isn’t always better
Community means something different in Carrboro. Bigger isn’t better for this small town. The people have a close-knit community with fairs and markets that enhance Carrboro. They don’t rely on commercializing themselves to entice visitors to become tourists.
Carrboro is captivating because new residents and visitors truly discover that the congeniality is pure. Carrboro is entirely genuine.
I get the hippie description now.
Love for a town like Carrboro is not measured in fame. Carrboro-ites keep their priority on the community – locally owned and organically grown.

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