Walking down Cleveland Street, I see it off in the distance.
The sun’s on my back, and the beginning of a temperature that every Floridian looks forward to half-graces my every step. Making my way down the hill, a cluster of colorful tents brings a smile to my face.
And there it is: The Pierce Street Market, and it is absolutely bustling with people.
A couple of things become apparent right off the bat. #1: There are conversations everywhere. In true marketplace style, customers and merchants bring lively chatter to the entire area. And #2: They sell a lot more than just food and crafts here.
I recognize a couple of faces from around town as I get deeper into the market. There’s a massive line of shops going all the way back to the end of the pier. And with the concentration of tents and people in those fifty or so feet, it puts any mall I’ve been in to shame.
In fact, that was perhaps my favorite part of the whole affair: the variety. Unlike most malls or shopping centers they actually had items that interested me outside of clothing. My first stop landed me at “Fandomonium Designs,” a store that immediately appealed to my nerdy sensibilities. They sold personally engraved metal wristbands, and after some discussion and soul searching as to what I should get on it, I ran off to see more of the sights while they finished preparing.
From there I came across “Running Smoothie,” a health-food smoothie stand. The drinks, though a little different than what I was used to, turned out to be excellent, and under the Florida sun I finished mine in ten minutes flat.
The rest of my trip went by fast. A hand-crafted piece of art, a local band I quite like, a burst of intercostal air with entertaining results, and then it was time to go.
Driving away, with the market behind me, I had only one lingering thought. It hung on my mind and kept me with a grin.