The Bespoke Blog - The Stories Behind the Products

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Guest Post: Touring Truckee Thursdays

We loved sharing Thursday evenings with you this summer!  Whether we were bumping elbows with Tahoe-area artists or doing some sidewalk screenprinting, Bespoke had a fabulous time, and we want to thank you for your support. Thanks also to our featured artists: Aaron Oropeza, Mary Burrows, Chris Crossen and Jillian VanNess.

 Screenprinted shirts designed by local artists, printed curbside.

Screenprinted shirts designed by local artists, printed curbside.

To mark the end of summer, Bespoke invited a visiting writer to recount her personal experience of a recent Truckee Thursday. Here's a taste of Truckee from Melissa Reeser Poulin, a writer in Portland, Oregon.

 Truckee Thursday visitors stroll through a hazy August evening. 

Truckee Thursday visitors stroll through a hazy August evening. 

I've never seen downtown Truckee like this.

When I first visited Truckee Thursday, a little over four years ago, it was a small cluster of market stalls and food vendors. Now, the entire main drag is closed to traffic, and there's a palpable festive energy to the crowd thronging the street.

It's a mix of classic Truckee family vibes and tourist enthusiasm. Neighbors cluster at the market stalls, clutching bags of summer vegetables and chatting about the start of school. People move to the music near the beer garden and bandstand. Artists and shoppers lean toward one another to examine the detail in handmade earrings, cowboy boots and brightly painted ceramics.

But there's also mischief in the air, a hint of the rough-and-tumble outpost town that lies at Truckee's roots. Buskers on their way to Burning Man open their guitar cases on the sidewalk to strum for passersby. A fairly raucous crowd spills from Pianeta Bar onto the street.

I duck into the Slow Food Tahoe booth to find out what local foodies are up to, and learn about an upcoming tour of Truckee vegetable gardens. The Truckee/Tahoe Homemade Exchange connects local makers and bakers all year round, inviting members to swap a half dozen jars of jam for a sampling of their neighbors' homemade granola or herbal tea blend. All of this is making me hungry.

 Truckee boasts some great local grub, including Red Truck's crispy falafel.

Truckee boasts some great local grub, including Red Truck's crispy falafel.

Fortunately, there are tons of delicious food options. Local favorite Coffee And is offering freshly-baked pies and homemade ice cream bars, while the classic pad thai at neighboring Dragonfly tempts other diners. Kids munch on chocolate-covered strawberries and barbecued corn on the cob.

Meanwhile, piles of plump figs, stone fruit, mouth-watering melons and fresh green beans beckon from the farmer's market aisle. Not far, kids work off sugar-highs in the jumping house, and test out snowboards in a (very) pre-season snow corral. 

 Testing out a new board on a cushy "snow" ramp. 

Testing out a new board on a cushy "snow" ramp. 

I linger late, chatting with artists and checking out Pedal Happy, makers of leather beer growler carriers for bikes. I even get a chance to talk with a volunteer at High Fives Foundation, one of Truckee Thursdays' many non-profit partners.

For a small town, it's a big event, and there's more to take in than I realize. I somehow miss out on the mini Iron Chef-style contest going on near the beer garden: 10 minutes, three local chefs, limited equipment and ingredients.

I hear the results were impressive, and I'm not surprised. Truckee packs big city talent into its shops, studios and neighborhoods. I'm looking forward to next year's Thursday night celebrations.