Take a Look at Tacky Park
Oct 02, 2013 01:50AM
Not even a stone’s throw from the nation’s capitol—in fact overlapping area lines, Takoma Park is a diverse and cosmopolitan community that has the undeniable feel of a small town. Though considerably political, being in such proximity to the country’s political epicenter, and known by some as one of the most liberal cities in America, that does not deny Takoma Park’s quaint atmosphere and friendly neighbors. Anywhere in the town, whether at a community forum in the municipal building or at one of the many outdoor gatherings, the residents run into friends, acquaintances and family and are happy to help a tourist or welcome a visitor to their fair city.
Even from its earliest days, Takoma Park’s collective point of view is largely appreciative of the outdoors and a natural, healthy lifestyle. The Takoma mindset believes in supporting and using organic products, local business and healthy activities. When exploring parks and open spaces around the city, a resident will find them filled with their neighbors. From the local children’s soccer league to the trails along Rock Creek Park, as well as the city streets for the farmer’s market on Sunday or Food Truck Fridays, community involvement is important to the citizens of Takoma Park.
On October 6, the Old Town Business Association (OTBA) will bring the excitement of city life and activities right to Takoma residents’ doorstep. The OTBA works to encourage involvement, as well as to preserve local business and bring fun and lively events to the residents. Though the summer’s biggest event has passed, the eclectic and festive Fourth of July parade, looking forward to the fall brings an event that arguably evokes the town’s very spirit—the Takoma Park Street Festival.
Many who grow up in Takoma Park have some of their fondest childhood memories at the Takoma Park Street Festival. For several years, an annual war of silly-string tag would take place all throughout the downtown area, which unfortunately resulted in a colorful mess that was virtually impossible to clean, so the tradition has since been scrubbed. The festival is still one that several locals come out to, walking the closed-off main street, eating and drinking the delicious treats, perusing the mostly hand-crafted goods for sale and listening to the live music on two stages at opposite ends of the main street.
The cosmopolitan aspect of the tiny city is growing, with the metro acting as an open door to the national and international hub of Washington. In recent years, new restaurants have opened up, bringing more visitors to the area and giving the locals less reason to travel outside of their city. Soon, even more city life will be spreading, bringing new places like Busboys and Poets, which is set to open near the Takoma Metro station in 2014. The Black Restaurant Group will soon be coming to the space where the beloved Video American movie rental store used to stand. Takoma Republic Restaurant is set to open in the fall of 2013 and is a nod to the community spirit.
Despite the changes coming, the tenacity of Takoma Park’s quirk will not bend. Austin and Portland have their successful campaign to keep those places weird, and this small town, lovingly referred to by residents as Tacky Park, will forever hold onto its budding artists, green living, bike riding, organic locally grown food, yoga and the love of outdoor spaces that its very streets evoke, each one named for a different tree or flower.
Joanna Pumple is a little-experienced writer with larger aspirations, currently working as an assistant property manager in North Bethesda. True to her hippie roots, having been born in her parent’s home, caught by a midwife, she is a totally un-biased, almost life-time resident of Takoma Park.