It’s over now; one more year of MarketFest has come and gone.

It seems just a moment ago that I was standing in the center of Library Park in downtown Redding for the first show of the new MarketFest season, surrounded by a large, happy crowd jammed into a very tiny park listening to great music.

I couldn’t help it – I had a huge smile as I took in a scene that after 14 years has become pretty commonplace at this time of the year – people young and old who have no idea how this whole thing came about, and probably couldn’t care less. For them it’s all about listening to the music, eating and drinking, and just having a good time with friends.

But I remember how this started. It was February of 1995 when local attorney and downtown business owner Dugan Barr started a chain of events that continue to this day. At his suggestion, a group of local architects, of which I was one, volunteered to create a “concept plan” for revitalizing a downtown that had fallen on difficult times.

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Written by James Theimer for