Summer brings opportunities to get out and about

The COVID-19 shutdown has been challenging in a number of ways. The number of cases and deaths continues to rise, many have lost jobs or closed businesses—and there still is no obvious solution to the problem.

At the very least, residents have been affected by the cancellation and closure of things they typically enjoy this time of the year.

Some aspects of our lives have opened back up—not all. However, there are several things on the horizon that offer opportunities for us to get out and enjoy life.

First, local farmers markets have started up or will soon.

Though not comprehensive, the Alabama Farmers Market Authority lists six market in Shelby County: Alabaster Farmers Market, Helena Market Days, Marketplace at Lee Branch, Montevallo Farmers Market, Mt Laurel Farmers Market and Valleydale Farmers Market.

Farmers are among the small business owners that have felt the impact of the pandemic, especially those that grow early-season produce like strawberries and depend on “U-pick” arrangements.

Visiting a farmers market is an excellent way to spend some time outside in the beautiful weather while also picking up some fresh, healthy produce.

Other options for local residents include outdoor events, some of which are now being planned again.

Several local municipalities are still planning their July Fourth fireworks shows, and then there are events like the Third Annual Summer Shindig at Old Baker Farm in Harpersville.

The Shindig will be held from 5-9 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 15. Activities will include a sunflower maze, watermelon cutting, visits with animals, live music, fireworks, arts and crafts, food trucks and more.

Social distancing guidelines will be followed for all the activities, event organizer Leah Harry told the Shelby County Reporter.

Also, Columbiana’s annual Liberty Day festival has been pushed back but it is still to be held, on July 24—25.

The event will include music, food trucks, arts and crafts vendors, activities for children, a car show, hot dog eating contest, parade down Main Street and “the best fireworks show in central Alabama,” according to the event webpage.

Announcements about other local events this summer will be forthcoming.

If you feel like you missed out on community events this spring because of the pandemic, there will be many opportunities this summer for you.